MANILA, Philippines - Cebu designer Jun Paul “JP” Lasco, 30, was one of the 12 finalists in the recent Furniture Design Award (FDA) Singapore for his multi-function rattan “Bench Screen.”
“The Bench Screen reinvents the traditional bamboo screen and communal seating,” the FDA wrote about Lasco’s piece. “It can be arranged in various ways to achieve full functionality and add dynamics to a particular room. With a tall backrest, the bench seat doubles as a partition and screen that creates a degree of privacy in public spaces — therefore eliminating the need for two separate functional pieces and merging two into one: the Bench Screen.”
Lasco, who hails from Bohol, currently works as a junior designer for Kenneth Cobonpue, though he says his FDA design was done on his own initiative.
“My inspiration was those super-duper cheap woven window screens my mom bought from an old lady to hang in our house, and then I evolved it into sketches,” he says. “So it has two functions: a bench and a screen.”
He envisions his Bench Screen arranged back-to-back in airports, restaurants, offices, and other public spaces to provide communal seating.
“You can also align it and create a wall-like structure for a hallway,” he notes. Instead of curtains or rollup window screens, the Bench Screen can also provide shade when placed against glass walls or large picture windows. The versatile design can also be translated for outdoor use with different materials like aluminum.
Lasco submitted his entry last August, conceptualizing his design around the FDA’s criteria of sustainability, commerciality, function, and innovation. In September, FDA announced he was one of the Top 24 semifinalists. A judging panel interviewed Lasco, later bringing him to Singapore to present a scale model before declaring he had made the 12 finalists. As one of the 12 he had to make an actual prototype of the Bench Screen.
“An engineer helped and referred me to someone who could weave,” he says. “Kenneth also gave me advice.”
Lasco describes his design style as “super-simple with a little twist,” recalling how one of the FDA judges critiqued his initial design as being “too simple. You should add more, more, more!”
“As much as possible I want to do something really different,” he says. “I still have a lot to learn. This (Bench Screen) is not perfect, it still needs a lot of improvement, but the idea is there.”
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You can contact Jun Paul Lasco at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram @jpfl126.