Good Design Award Philippines highlights ‘malasakit’ as central to design excellence


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In its inaugural run of the Good Design Award Philippines, the Design Center of the Philippines is recognizing outstanding local objects, systems, places, and images addressing social problems to enrich the quality of human life.

“Design is an innovation enabler,” said Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. “At a time when we face tumultuous changes on every front—from technology to economics, the environment, and our institutions—the role of design becomes increasingly critical. Thus, our efforts will not just support our design industry; it will also push design skills to develop design-driven organizations and innovative industries.”

“The most meaningful designs, creative works, and innovations are those that solve social problems, not just design for design’s sake,” he said. “We want to promote a culture of design and innovation that can serve as higher-value services that our country can be known for.”

Good Design Award Philippines is a national design excellence recognition system that aims to promote design as a key tool in developing and providing solutions to social challenges as well as strengthen the country’s global competitiveness and increase its innovative quotient. This system is in support of AmBisyon Natin 2040 through the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

Design Center Executive Director Maria Rita O. Matute says the Good Design Award Philippines adds more value to design as a driver of economic growth and innovation. It pushes for design excellence that is impact-driven, providing design solutions that address human needs and societal challenges to protect future generations and secure a more livable society for them.


“We envision Good Design Award Philippines to be one of the platforms through which Design Center nurtures the Philippines’ culture of design excellence,” Matute explains. “Aside from

Malasakit as a PH brand of design excellence

With the creative industries, particularly the design sector, steadily emerging as a driver of national competitiveness, the Philippines’ neighboring countries in the Southeast Asian region likewise invest in their respective design industries, encouraging a prolific design culture by recognizing good design across sectors.

“What the Good Design Award Philippines brings to the fore of the global design industry is the Philippines’ unique approach to design excellence,” Matute remarks. “The Philippines is a nation with innate creativity; we are malikhain by nature. But what really sets Philippine design apart is the malasakit that is embodied in our design solutions, whether it be a product, place, image or system.”

Malasakit, or closely translated in English as compassion, is the sympathetic consciousness of the distress of others and acting to alleviate it. Matute points out that the Good Design Award Philippines boldly puts this specific Philippine value as an additional pillar to the traditional parameters of good design—innovation, form, and function.

Matute cites as examples the four homegrown products and service that were recognized in Japan’s Good Design Award-ASEAN Design Selection in 2018.

Make a Difference (MAD) Travel offers social tourism tour packages that afford Aeta communities in San Felipe, Zambales sustainable living while tackling SDGs 1, 2, and 3 on No Poverty, Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-being. Moreover, MAD Travel encourages tourists and guests to aid in their goal of planting a 3,000 hectare forest, which is in line with SDGs 13 and 15 on Climate Action and Life on Land.

Red Palm Ventures’ banana stalk wallpapers is geared towards the empowerment of women in a community in San Pablo, Laguna through livelihood, and addresses Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on Responsible Production and Consumption through the optimal use of banana stalks.

Likewise, Bambike’s Bambino balance bike reinforces SDG 12 as well through the use of the highly abundant bamboos in their production, and SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth by providing livelihood to the Bambuilders (bamboo builders) of a Gawad Kalinga Community in Victoria, Tarlac.

Malasakit as a mark of good design

The Good Design Award Philippines has its criteria the principles of good design–innovativeness, form, and functionality—plus malasakit, which will be evaluated based on design solution’s impact on the 17 SDGs listed by the United Nations. The inclusion of malasakit in the criteria carry the Philippine value beyond simply a quality of Philippine good design; it shows how local innovations can also impact on global challenges. From a community level of compassion, Philippine design sees itself committed as well to developing solutions on a much larger perspective.

Matute expounds that perceiving Philippine design in a wider picture adds to the commitment of nurturing a culture of design excellence in the country. “By understanding that design impacts a bigger cause than one’s self or one’s community, you would naturally want to come up with the best ideas and solutions because you become responsible to a larger matter.”

The Good Design Award accepts entries from Philippine-registered enterprises, designers, and creatives from both private and public sectors with fully realized and/or executed products or systems in the design disciplines of object making (furniture, furnishing, décor; fashion accessories; mobility; and material innovation); image making (packaging, and communication); place making (architecture, and interior architecture); and service/system design.

Winners will be evaluated in a two-step screening process by a jury composed of thirteen interdisciplinary and industry-respected individuals, including the private sector representatives of the Design Advisory Council (DAC).

Winning entries can be awarded the Good Design Philippines Red and Gold Awards based on the judging criteria, while the Good Design Philippines Green Award will recognize the entry with the most impact on SDGs related to environment and sustainability. The Grand Prix for Good Design Award Philippines is the Orange Award, and it will be awarded to the design that makes the greatest impact and contribution to the attainment of the United Nations SDGs.

Entries can be submitted until 15 August 2019. For more information on Good Design Award Philippines, please visit their website here.