Designer, LGBT activist Brian Tenorio, 42

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DESIGNER, entrepreneur, and community leader Brian Tenorio passed away on Monday, July 27, due to complications of cancer. He was 42.

Mr.Tenorio passed away peacefully in the presence of his loved ones said the Mindcare Club (MCC), a company focusing on the treatment of mental health issues where he was “Chief Experience Officer.”

“Brian conceived the idea behind MCC when he noticed that many of his friends had shared stories of mental illness, and that it was difficult, and sometimes painful, to seek necessary care. The way mental healthcare was designed was something he felt he could change and improve. He dreamed of designing spaces where mental health services can be accessed more easily without stigma,” said the MCC in a statement.

Listen to Mr. Tenorio talk about mental health in this related podcast episode.

“Brian was a person of immense passion and vision. Blending art and vision into ‘meaningful design’ is a reflection of his ideals and philosophy. Ultimately, Brian thought of design as a way to bring people together and to make the world a better place,” said the MCC.

As well as being the CEO and Chief Experience Officer of Mindcare Club and Pilipinas TeleHealth, a company offering services in distance medicine, Mr. Tenorio was also behind the KapeTayo Coffee Co., a homegrown coffee chain.

He was also the founder and former chair of the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Tenorio graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a Dean’s Award for the Arts in Graphic Design, majoring in Communications. He earned a Masters of Professional Studies in Design Management from the Pratt Institute in New York, graduating with a Pratt Institute Circle Award.

Mr. Tenorio’s dipped his fingers in many industries and advocacies, counting among his many occupations becoming an International Consultant for Branding and Identity Design at the Asian Development Bank, as well as a similar post as International Design and Branding Consultant for the World Health Organization at its Western Pacific Regional Office. He was also known in the fashion industry for his shoe brand, Tenorio Manila.

The Communication Design Association of the Philippines (CDAP), shared the following statement on its Facebook page on Mr. Tenorio’s passing. “We are saddened by the passing of a creative luminary, design advocate, and one of CDAP’s founding directors, Brian Tenorio. We offer our prayers and sincerest condolences to his family.”

CDAP President Jowee Alviar said in the statement, “Brian never fails to bring energy to meetings and discussions. He was always overflowing with creative ideas. The industry lost one of its champions.”

Quoting Mr. Tenorio, the statement said, “Design is one of the most powerful forces in our lives. Designing for impact creates positive lasting change — for commerce and industry, the environment, culture, and for our society and communities, through time and space.”

“There are not so many other demographics that are directly based on love and desire. The LGBT demographic is based on these entirely, I think. Love and desire; acceptance and attraction. These are extremely powerful forces in the world we live in. Whether you come from the world of development or industry, these forces shape the data we watch closely everyday,” Mr. Tenorio said in a 2016 speech.

In a previous interview with BusinessWorld, Mr. Tenorio was asked if a cup of coffee could change the world. “I don’t know. But what I do know is that we try.” Considering Mr. Tenorio’s many contributions in various fields, the rest of his answer seems apt now: “I’m not sure if a cup of coffee can change the world. But I do understand that a cup of culture, heritage, and feelings will make a difference.” — Joseph L. Garcia

Brian Tenorio wore many hats. High Life, the defunct large-format lifestyle glossy magazine under BusinessWorld, featured his shoes in a fashion editorial titled “Summer Daze” in its March 2014 issue. His loss is felt by the fashion industry and by all those who knew him.