Edwin Uy has recently launched his book “Design Authenticity Matters in Philippine Architecture”
The book launch served as a discussion of case studies and portfolios, as well as an intimate conversation with the author about design process.
February 4, 2019
Written by Arielle Abrigo
Photographed by Arielle Abrigo
Held last January 31, 2019, at the Kuysen Karousel showroom on the 4th floor of the Mega Fashion Hall in Mega Mall, the said book launch gathered architects, designers, previous clients, and other creators versed in different fields. Buck Sia, the principal architect of Zubu Design Associates, was invited as a replacement host for the dialog part of the program, where he sat next to Edwin Uy throughout the articulate exchange that was sustained for an hour.
After having positioned himself on the wooden stool, he uttered: “I’m always a very good replacement.” The people—others who silently held the stem of their wine glass, while a few loosen on Muuto sofas, as some charily flock the corners of other furniture inside the showroom—burst into laughter. It was a delightful entry, moreover, an introduction for the program. Inside, everyone received their share of wine refills, and small talks were pursued here and there.
Buck Sia mentioned that Edwin Uy has a way of curating things and creating objects that constantly define the space, which are unique aspects carried by the young architect. Subsequently, Edwin Uy shared that he was never really conscious about the significance of authenticity in his designs at first. It was only realized when his master’s thesis came up. It was this moment when he decided to use design authenticity as the topic.
The following are a few questions and answers that were raised during the discussion:
“How do you emphasize the importance of identity, or the search of identity to derive to your designs?”
Edwin: “It can be personal; it depends on what you look for in a design, and what you look for in a solution. But somehow the identity really comes out from the clients that ask me to collaborate with them. Collaboration, I would say, is a very good start in the search for an identity. Each project has its own case, each project has its own nuisances, and these would somehow result to something specific.”
“So, the title is “Design Authenticity Matters in Philippine Architecture.” How do you relate that to design authenticity?”
Edwin: “I don’t start with design authenticity in general, but when I was doing a lot of research for the book I noticed a pattern, that a lot of the tools that you would need to achieve authentic design can be found here in the Philippines. You can see a lot of influences and inspirations just within our islands. We don’t have to go beyond our country to search for authentic designs.”
“Another thing that you wrote in the book is about experimentation. What is the state of mind for experimental designs?”
Edwin: “Experimental design is one of the core values in our office, which I really had to add because it’s not something that is commonplace in every practice. Experimenting is difficult, it’s always challenging, because you get a lot of oppositions right away. Your state of mind should be persistent with the things that you do and what you believe in. Experimentation is a matter of playing with your design, playing with your thoughts, and also making sure that it comes out practical, because in reality, it’s not just about theories. You still have to build, and you have the clients that will complain about projects. You still have to make a lot of considerations.”
The book “Design Authenticity Matters in Philippine Architecture” rouses the mind, as it scholastically dissects and challenges the subsisting methods of architecture and design. It critically tackles the notion and value of authenticity by underscoring the need to give importance to Philippine identity. The discussion concluded with Edwin Uy informing the crowd that both architecture and design are very much like creating knots, where in weaving, all the threads are carefully considered and managed.