Design

Ticket to Emerging Visions
at the SMX Convention Center
Today I attended the 6th National Architecture Symposium organised by the UST Architecture Network (ARCHINET). This year's theme is 'Emerging Visions: Shifting Perspectives in Architectural Evolution' and lecturers include Inge Goudsmit of OMA Asia and Andreas Schmitzer of Project A01 Architects.

Asked about materials they used in a certain project, Schmitzer gave a generous response that centers on 'hiding the material'. He said something along the lines of, 'The truth is everything is fake. Everything is not what it seems.' I wanted him to talk more about it, but there were time constraints.

Another interesting—and in a way consoling—tidbit is that architects already consider themselves lucky if 10% of their work is realised. Most of the designs they spent sleepless nights on will never be constructed, and therefore will never be utilised and enjoyed by anyone.

The highlight of the event is that I was sitting beside and even shook hands with Architect Bong Recio (Recio+Casas). Though I only found out it was him when he was asked to come up on stage and deliver his keynote address. Silly me, I managed to introduce myself yet didn't ask who he was. I was prepared to chat him up after the lunch break, but unfortunately he left.

The affair took me back to my college days when the classroom and the lecture hall are some of the most exhilarating places to be. You meet people like them, see how they think, and you trust that the world is in good hands. The Taipei Performing Arts Centre is particularly inspired and how I wish to one day watch a show there.

Pet peeve: small circular mug handle
Elegant but a challenge to use
On a more trivial note, I used to make the mistake of associating design with mere patterns, divorced of function. Having written about homes and high-rises in the past couple of years, I've become more thoughtful about the word.

So after the symposium, I had coffee at the Mall of Asia and lo and behold, the perfect example of bad (or at the very least, inconvenient) design: the small circular mug handle. The only way I could raise this heavy mug (which I actually like) to my lips is if I use both hands. Or is it designed that way?

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