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Laguna Youths Take A Crash Course In Design And Make Furniture In Three Days

Filipino interior designers train out-of-school youth in furniture making for this special PIID program

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Photography: Greggy Realeza Saliba (Main Photo)

It usually takes four years or more to complete a design course, and a couple of more years of on-the-job training to manufacture furniture. But what if you only had three days for the whole process?

The Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID) and the youths in Calauan, Laguna did just that, and with amazing results. In a project that was funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the PIID worked with French-based NGO Life Project 4 Youth to train youth beneficiaries residing in the area.

“We had similar workshops na ginawa sa Bantayan Island in Cebu, Ormoc, Bulacan, and other areas, na for livelihood ang purpose,” explains design teacher and interior designer Greggy Realeza Saliba. “Naiba lang sa Green Village, kasi in need talaga sila ng furniture design workshop para sa mga beneficiaries nila.”

Green projects in a green village


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Green Village in Calauan is an ecological training center that was made by the youths, and everything in it is sustainable, from the bamboo houses, solar power, water system, to natural farming and up-cycling methods.


It was the perfect venue to train the youths using recycled materials and additional donated materials and tools from Boysen, Pioneer Adhesives, and Townes, Inc. “We donated five portable sewing machines and miter saws, drafting boards, scales, and other tools,” says interior designer Willie Garcia of JunkNot!, and coordinator for this project.

Crash course in design


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The youths then had a crash course in color theory, principles of design, furniture design and full-sizing, weaving, and up-cycling as taught by Willie and Greggy, interior designers Brigid Sarmiento, Gelin Kuizon, and Esmeralda Ayag, NCCA officer Kahlil Labastilla, Angellizza Ramirez, painter and facilitator Lito Vinias, and carpenter Elmer Adonis.


Learning skills for the future


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Right after their lessons, the beneficiaries and workshop participants immediately went hands-on in making the furniture, while being assisted by the facilitators. The furniture pieces were made from scratch, upholstery was cut, the frames painted, and the seats and backs hand-woven.


The end results are rustic and unique pieces that are beautiful and sustainably made. But the best “products” to come out of the Green Village project are the youths, who will retain these skills for the rest of their lives.


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For more information about Life Project 4 Youth or if you want to volunteer, visit their website.

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