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The Winners Of The First-Ever Kohler Bold Design Awards - Philippines Have Been Named—You Have To See Their Winning Entries


A design competition for hospitality, residential, and commercial property professionals in the region, the first-ever KOHLER Bold Design Awards (KBDA) 2017 Philippines was aimed at recognizing and rewarding the best places and talents in design and innovation.

During its culmination night last February 9 at the Solaire Hotel in Pasay, the leading American kitchen and bath brand was able to do that exactly as it put the spotlight on the creative geniuses who are behind some of the most outstanding projects in the Philippines.


Larry Yuen, group president - Kitchen & Bath for KOHLER


After a year-long preparation, over 100 entries from designers across the country had been gathered and pitted against each other in various categories. The response to the competition was impressive, so much so that KOHLER’s goal of creating an award-giving body that would elevate the practice and design standards in Asia Pacific was ultimately achieved.

“The overall feedback on KBDA was beyond our expectations. We got a hundred of entries and we are satisfied with the quality of submitted works. They definitely highlight the talent and progress of the industry in the country, as it has become world-class and globally competitive,” shares Angel Yang, president of KOHLER Asia Pacific.


Angel Yang, president of KOHLER Asia Pacific


There are two main categories: The Boldest, which pertained to spaces and The Visionaries, which acknowledged design experts. Under The Boldest category, there are other sub-categories: Living – Condo, Apartment, and Villa; Travel – Resorts and Hotels (Urban), Leisure, and Culture – Cultural Spaces and Social Spaces. For The Visionaries, there are awards for Innovation, Master Patron, Rising Talent, and the John Michael Kohler Lifetime Achievement Award.

The panel of judges for the KBDA was made up of international and Filipino professionals who have knowledge on different property disciplines. It includes Bill Bensley, creative director of Bensley Studios (Thailand and Indonesia); Carmelo Casas, president and CEO of Casas Architects (Philippines); Antonio Budji Layug, principal designer and chairman of BUDJI+ROYAL Architecture+Design (Philippines);  Royal Pineda, principal architect and CEO of BUDJI+ROYAL Architecture+Design (Philippines); Kenneth Cobonpue, founder and creative director of Kenneth Cobonpue (Philippines); and Simon Rawlings, creative director of David Collins Studio (UK).


The panel of judges (from left): Bill Bensley, Royal Pineda, Kenneth Cobonpue, Budji Layug, and Carmelo Casas; Simon Rawlings couldn't make it to the event


The entire judging process was strictly supervised by global professional auditing firm KPMG, including intensive panel deliberations.

From the award-giving body’s name itself, it can be deduced that the main criteria for judging is the boldness of the design. “We were looking for something out of the box. The boldness should be there,” says Casas. The term “bold” is pretty versatile and may be used to describe various designs; for Layug, however, “bold” means something “timeless, modern, and exciting.” Pineda, on the other hand, looked for a sense of “modernity” in each entry. “When I say ‘modernity,’ [it means] there’s something this design will offer to the modern lifestyle of the Filipinos today,” he says.

It may only be KBDA’s first time to be held in the Philippines, but it’s a recognition that has already created a buzz and stirred interest among local design professionals and, hopefully, impact the industry positively. Pineda hopes that the projects they’ve chosen “will somehow inspire or trigger something in the industry again.” He adds, “I think the award is not just about recognition but about being responsible in guiding the industry, where it’s going to go.”

Here are the highlights at the gala dinner for KBDA as well as glimpses of the winning entries and professionals:


Living – Condo Living

Penthouse Edades Condominium Unit


Originally a four-bedroom unit, this penthouse was reduced to two bedrooms to make space for an expansive entertainment area. These decisions gave the designer a free-flowing space that the homeowners can divide and allocate in an artful manner.



Living – Villa Living

Paraíso House


Paraíso House is located near the Sampaloc Lake in San Pablo, Laguna, surrounded by tropical lush. The client, an artist and neurologist, envisioned a house that could showcase his art pieces, while still retaining the purity and honesty of its surroundings. This was interpreted through the simplicity of the structure, its open spaces, and abundant vegetation, which is the most noteworthy feature of the project.



Living – Apartment Living

C Residence


The overall concept was modern, contemporary, and practical: modern, by using new design styles and techniques; contemporary, by making a design that hints at timelessness; and practical, by making everything useful and functional but no less aesthetically-coherent.



Travel - Resorts

The Astoria Palawan and Current Resort


The Astoria Palawan and Current Resort in Boracay are colorful and vibrant by intention. It was the owner’s direction to “own” the color narrative for these two properties as their identifying DNA. Arresting color combinations and clever use of graphics were therefore artfully deployed to create spaces in the hotel that were whimsical and relaxed. Furniture weaving was also color-coordinated and tweaked to be part of the whole color ensemble.



Travel – Hotels (Urban)

The G1


Located at a prominent location at the top of Session Road, in a small 200 square-meter lot at the heart of Baguio City’s central business district, the building is shaped to maximize daylight and natural ventilation, its design slowly tapering into light wells on the northern side. The project is currently under construction, and is set to open sometime in the first quarter of 2018.




Shoe Salon - Ayala Cloverleaf Mall


The concept draws on the previous store's design, which was inspired by adventure video games. The main accent is the central display made of translucent colored glass panels, representing a "portal" to a different world. It is a modern and progressive store design that levels-up the quality of local retail interior design.



Culture - Cultural Spaces

Apt Studio


APT STUDIO sets a tone of innovation, originality, experimentation, and progressive thinking for Philippine architecture, one that hopes to give confidence to the design community to also do the same, and to start a conversation with them that, perhaps, it is high time to allow Philippine architecture to evolve to a higher realm.



Culture - Social Spaces

The Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP)


The Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP), is a project of Gina Lopez of the ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. (AFI), along with the Department of Environment and Resources (DENR) through Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), which aims to clean and rehabilitate the River.



Visionaries - Innovation

Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA)


Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is the gate to the central and Southern Philippine islands; it is also the country’s second-largest airport. The distinguishing element of the new building is the arched roof of glue-laminated timber supports. These arches—which measure 30 meters across and 18 meters high—form a roofscape which calls to mind the surrounding ocean and characterizes the interior of the terminal.



Visionaries - Master Patron


Astoria Hotels and Resorts

This award recognizes an extraordinary emerging young talent in the fields of architecture, interior design, or interior architecture in the Philippines. Ng, in her design journey, has inspired many of her peers with her exceptional talent. She has also constantly shown appreciation for the tangible and intangible of good designs.



Visionaries - Prodigies - Rising Talent


Manam Architecture

Architect Dos Manalo is part of an international team of architects and artists based on the Philippines, MANAM, developing a wide range of projects. He has been working and learning from some of the best architects and interior designers in the Philippines. His unique style combines the taste for the most exclusive luxury design in the Philippines, with the most modern tendencies in the international panorama, thanks to his multiple collaborations with foreign studios.



Visionaries - John Michael Kohler Lifetime Achievement Award


Mañosa & Co

This award recognizes the outstanding contribution of an individual or a company in shaping or educating the property design industry in the Philippines, impacting humanity, communities, and environment. This was awarded to Arch. Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa for his extensive years of contributing to the design scene, and his constant and bold development and search for indigenous materials in developing exponent for many Filipino architecture. Some of his works include, the Coconut Palace, the Edsa Shrine, the Davao Pearl Farm, and Amanpulo Resorts. On his behalf, his award was received by his grandchildren.


Photographs by Daniel Soriano (event)