Revitalized First United Building Wins Malasakit Gran Prix Award at 2024 Good Design Award Philippines
Revitalized First United Building Wins Malasakit Gran Prix Award at 2024 Good Design Award Philippines

Malasakit Gran Prix awardee First United Building with Good Design Award Philippines jurors, Design Center of the Philippines, Design Advisory Council, and United Nations Development Programme

Quezon City’s Right to Care Card and Philippine Textile Table Swatchbook win Gold Awards

Our designers are storytellers and agents of malasakit (compassion) who exhibit the resilience and creativity of the Filipino spirit,”

— Design Center of the Philippines Executive Director Rhea Matute said.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, July 1, 2024 / — On 29 June, the Department of Trade and Industry-Design Center of the Philippines (DTI-Design Center) awarded outstanding designs during the 2024 Good Design Award Philippines, held at The Globe Tower, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

The Malasakit Gran Prix Award winner was the First United Building in Escolta, Manila. This project embodies the power of restoration and “adaptive reuse” in driving urban regeneration. Originally the Perez-Samanillo Building, this Art Deco landmark, designed by Andres P. Luna, son of the renowned painter Juan Luna, was Manila’s tallest building upon its 1928 completion.

The project’s vision transformed the historic structure into a vibrant hub for creative communities. By breathing new life into the building, it serves as a model for sustainable preservation, highlighting how historical significance can thrive alongside contemporary use. The First United Building Community Museum, a component of the larger revitalization efforts for the historic Art Deco landmark, further enriches the experience, offering a glimpse into Escolta’s golden era as Manila’s premier business district.

“The historic building’s transformation shows the power of placemaking, where it’s not just the walls and posts that make a place but the communities that flourish in it. The restored First United Building in Escolta revitalized the district, attracting creative tenants and drawing a new demographic of visitors and regular audiences that come to Escolta to escape the cookie cutter spaces that proliferate in many urban areas. Despite challenges, the building’s revival showcases the power of design and preservation, not only in restoring its past but also in fostering Escolta’s economic resurgence that caters to the next generation of the creative class,” said Good Design Award Philippines 2024 Jury Chair Mylene Abiva and the Co-Chair of Design Center’s Design Advisory Council 2024-2027.

Golds for Philippine Design

The Right to Care Card, a healthcare proxy document from Quezon City, won the Gold Award. This innovative initiative allows same-sex couples to make medical decisions for each other during emergencies, demonstrating how design can enhance inclusivity and government services.

The Philippine Textile Table Swatchbook of ANTHILL Fabric Factory also received the Gold Award by showing indigenous Philippine fabrics through “storytelling narratives and interactive features.”

“This year’s awardees are indeed a reflection of the transformative journey of Philippine design as a strategic problem-solving process that drives innovation, builds business success, and leads to a better quality of life through innovative products, systems, services, and experiences,” declared Rhea Matute, Executive Director of the Design Center of the Philippines. “Our designers are storytellers, changemakers, and agents of malasakit (compassion) who exhibit the resilience and creativity of the Filipino spirit.”

“The Good Design Award Philippines connects this year’s winners to the world. We are excited to see and support our country’s designers in introducing Philippine design to the global market,” said Crisela Magpayo Cervantes, Vice President of Marketing Communications for Globe Telecom.

The success of the Good Design Award Philippines rests on a foundation of collaboration. This remarkable achievement would not have been possible without the strong partnership and collaboration among the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), the Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP) and the ASEAN-Japan Center (AJC).

Furthermore, other key partners played crucial roles in the program’s success:

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aligned entries with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), ensuring design innovations addressed critical global challenges.

The Department of Science and Technology’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) served as technical consultants for the Material Innovation and Object Making categories, providing guidance and expertise on new technologies and product innovations.

Globe Telecom spearheaded the digitization of the award system process and provided the venue for the evaluations.

The Good Design Award Philippines, a biennial program, recognizes outstanding design across various categories. This year saw a significant increase in entries, with 204 submissions and 84 shortlisted finalists. Awardees received a commemorative trophy, a miniature replica of an Arturo Luz sculpture, the Good Design Award Philippines seal, and the opportunity to compete for Japan’s prestigious G Mark. This international recognition opens doors for Philippine design to reach the global market, fostering trade ties with Japan.

The 2024 Good Design Award Philippines echoes the spirit of World Industrial Design Day (WIDD), a global event organized by the World Design Organization every 29th of June. By holding its ceremony on 29 June, the Good Design Award Philippines joins the global celebration of World Industrial Design Day. Both events emphasize the power of design to go beyond aesthetics and functionality and highlight the importance of emotions and “design with malasakit”. The Good Design Award Philippines’ message, “It starts with malasakit (compassion),” aligns with WIDD’s global theme, “Let’s Get Emotional,” underscoring the role of design in addressing social, economic, and environmental challenges as reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

By putting compassion (malasakit) at the forefront, the Good Design Award Philippines aligns with the call to evoke positive change and inspire a brighter future through design.


About the Design Center of the Philippines

The Design Center of the Philippines is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) mandated to promote design as a problem-solving tool and catalyst for positive change.

In 2013, the Design Center of the Philippines further enhanced its role in the development of the design industry and the creative economy through the Philippine Design Competitiveness Act of 2013 (also known as Republic Act 10557), expanding the agency’s mandate in promoting design to improve the creative branding.

Franco Luna
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Article originally published on as Revitalized First United Building Wins Malasakit Gran Prix Award at 2024 Good Design Award Philippines