About The Author

WATCH: Interior design for the poor? UP students make it happen

Story image for Interior Designers from Rappler

This furniture project of students from the UP College of Home Economics aims to expose the interior design community to the needs of marginalized sectors

Dwight Angelo de Leon
Published 4:04 PM, May 20, 2017
Updated 5:03 PM, May 20, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – Interior design has been stereotyped as a profession for the rich. However, students from the University of the Philippines interior design class of 2017 would like to change this perception.

They recently mounted an exhibit on furniture and accessories designed specifically to improve the home living condition of Tulay ng Kabataan

, a non-governmental organization that provides shelter to street children in Metro Manila. The exhibit ran from April until the first week of May.

The pieces of furniture they created, aside from being child-friendly, tried to capture the essence of childhood while instilling the values they have to learn.

Hierarchy of needs

The furniture designs are divided into 5 groups that were inspired by the concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a motivational theory on psychology that is presented in a pyramid. The stages, as presented in the exhibit highlight safety, belongingness, esteem, self-actualization, and physiological needs.

INDEPENDENCE. The stackable wagon aims to teach kids how to be more independent and at the same time be responsible to take good care of their belongings. All photos by Dwight de Leon/Rappler

“The idea is to design places (furniture, accessories, and toys) that fulfill different needs of the children while incorporating aspects of healing design as well as collaborative design,” according to the team composed of 30 interior design students from the UP College of Home Economics.

The concept also acknowledged the plight of street children as one of the most pressing issues in the country. The goal of the students was to understand the conditions that street children face so that they can integrate their knowledge into their design. This process will help “in the healing, rehabilitation and growth of the children,” according to the students.

One of the furniture designs in self-esteem category was a stackable wagon painted in a children-friendly color. It aimed to teach kids how to be more independent and at the same time be responsible to take good care of their belongings.

There were also designs that took advantage of its multi-functionality, such as a table desk where the platform was detachable and could be used as a blackboard.

Some of the designs, meanwhile, were symbolic in nature, such as the desk lamp in the shape of a child, and tables and chairs that formed semi-circles when joined together.