Sustainability, Hospitality and Landscape take centerstage at the Italian Chamber Confab

For several years now, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Inc. (ICCPI) has been organizing the Italy by Design Conference 2023, a celebration of the distinct Italian mark that continues to inspire many niches of design from architecture to daily consumer products.

The three-day ICCPI event from Sept. 21 to 23 at the SMX Convention Center coincided with the observance of Design Consciousness Week which has been celebrated in the country for 49 years now by virtue of Proclamation No. 1259 issued by President Marcos Sr. in 1974.

I am deeply honored to be invited as one of the conference speakers representing Italpinas Development Corp. (IDC). It provided me the opportunity to introduce our company and our philosophy of incorporating green designs in every property development.

Natasha Jen, a renowned designer and educator at one of the world’s leading design firms Pentagram couldn’t have said it better: 

“Design is not a single object or dimension. Design is messy and complex.” 

Indeed, design is a realm where creativity, problem-solving, and innovation converge. It involves navigating through complexities, embracing challenges, and finding elegant solutions. As designers, we encounter a myriad of factors, considerations, and inspirations that shape our creative journey.

The author with the Italian Chamber of Commerce Philippines Inc. executive director Lorenz Ziller.

Let me add this to Natasha’s point. I see design as the intermediary between information and understanding. It serves as a bridge that translates ideas, concepts, and messages into tangible forms that resonate with people. Design has the power to communicate, evoke emotions, and foster meaningful connections.

And for the whole afternoon on September 21, this was an overarching message that we, the speakers, conveyed as we passionately discussed Sustainability and Green Designs, Hospitality Design and Landscape, and Design Trends.

Indeed, it was a pleasure to share the stage with my fellow speakers Arch. Cathy Saldana, president of the People, Design, and Places Architects (PDP); and Royal Pineda, principal architect and CEO of Royal Pineda Architecture and Design. Their perspective was invigorating, and the collaborative setting allowed for an engaging exchange of ideas.

I found Arch. Cathy’s presentation very insightful. An award-winning lady architect who has mastered her craft through her numerous works in island and resort development, the knowledge she shared is very much appreciated.

Likewise, the presentation of Arch. Pineda was inspiring. I really like his approach to architecture, his sensibility to nature as inspiration, and his efforts to build design trends that come from Filipino history, tradition, and heritage.

The presentation of Italian wood artist Luca Vezzaro was quite an interesting experience. He is a real artist who produces doors, tables and paintings using wood tiles in a very unique way. I strongly suggest to art lovers, interior designers and collectors to visit Luca’s show room and check out his creations as all his products are unique pieces of art.

Going back to my presentation, Italpinas is now gearing up to expand from mixed-use community development projects in Mindanao and Luzon, and bring its trademark sustainability and Italian design to the tourism and hospitality industry for the first time.

Aside from bringing Ascott’s Citadines brand to our Miramonti Project in Sto. Tomas City in Batangas, and also to our Primavera City development in Cagayan de Oro City, we are also designing new projects in the leisure and hospitality sector. 

Among them is a green high-rise building in Cagayan de Oro City center not too far from Limketkai Mall; and a mixed-use sea-view green development project in Morong, Bataan. So it was very apt to have joined together with others in the leisure and hospitality sector, as we prepare these new developments.

IDC’s DNA is very much both Italian and Filipino. Our past, present and our future projects will always be a merging of these two cultures. A touch of Italian and Filipino in every way. This combination, in my personal view, is one of the reasons behind the success of our projects.

That is why the IDC team is composed of Italians and Filipino architects who are highly creative and committed to give the best to our clients and partners. I am proud to say that some of our Pinoy architects worked with us as apprentices at first, and then stayed on with us after passing their licensure board exams.

Let me end this column by making a special shout out to the architecture and design students who attended last week’s conference in Pasay City. I was able to personally meet some of them during the event, including the contingent from the Rizal Technological University (RTU).

They asked me if they can apply for an internship in IDC. Of course, I said. The company will always be welcoming to Filipino students who want to gain experience and exposure to help them pass their board exams. It is our way of giving back to this country that gave us tremendous opportunities.

We are continuously on the lookout for fresh talent and look forward to having a fruitful working relationship. No one has the monopoly of knowledge and through this young blood, Italpinas will continue to thrive and be better.