Filipino students innovate solutions for transportation and tourism

Young Filipino students have developed innovative design solutions to tackle pressing transportation and tourism issues in the Philippines, showcased at the recent 2024 Nippon Paint Young Designer Award (NPYDA).

Established by Nippon Paint Philippines, Inc. in 2008, this nationwide competition motivates future artists through collaborative learning experiences and fosters valuable connections with industry leaders.

Da-an Commuter’s Lounge

Themed “Converge: Championing Purposeful Design,” this year’s event encouraged Interior Design and Architecture students to reshape future spaces and develop practical proposals.

Emylia Ginelle Poblete, an Interior Design student at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), introduced Da-an, an urban refuge project for commuters. Located near transit hubs, it provides a sanctuary for travelers to alleviate stress from the uncomfortable transportation system.

Emylia Ginelle Poblete

Da-an features public amenities like pharmacies, convenience stores, food courts, lounges, libraries, and gardens. It also offers private spaces such as music and nap pods with aromatherapy oils, meditation areas, restrooms, and shower rooms.

Promoting sustainability, the design includes open areas and low-emissivity film-coated glass panels to regulate indoor temperature. It uses renewable materials such as Aria lightweight mineral coating furniture, natural woods, and rattan accent veneers for walls and ceilings.

Maria Beatrice De Vega

“Da-an embodies humanness while celebrating the power of interiors to empathize with its users and connect with the environment,” Poblete explained.

Maria Beatrice De Vega, a student from the Benilde Interior Design Program, presented Pahiwaga, an experiential hub designed to showcase the natural beauty and unique heritage of Siquijor.

Pahiwaga Healing Arts

Siquijor, an island in the Central Visayas region, has long been associated with myths of witchcraft and supernatural events, often scaring away visitors. Pahiwaga embraces maximalism through mixed patterns and saturated colors on walls and floors, using multiple fabrics and accessories to reflect the island’s rich ancestry.

The design also incorporates biophilic elements, including wood furnishings and lush green plants, to capture the serene beauty of Siquijor.

“By unveiling the island’s true essence, Pahiwaga aspires to rewrite the narrative and reveal the authentic charm the province has to offer,” De Vega highlighted.

Poblete and De Vega were among the Top Seven finalists of the 2024 NPYDA, mentored by practitioner and educator IDr. Candice Arboleda.

“I wanted them to learn to take risks for their designs and the causes they believe in,” Arboleda emphasized. “More than winning, it’s about putting their work out there, discussing it, and standing by their principles.”

For more information on the 2024 NPYDA, visit