In Design Made Happy, we aim to acknowledge raw and local talent that leaves a positive dent on the design culture in the country today. Rachelle Dagnalan, the Creative Director of RADA Collab and a humble yet determined industrial designer lets us in on her association with One Town One Product, her own creative process, and future direction as an artist.
For One Town One Product, she had been working with local artisans from Albay and other provinces in collaboration with the local government. Her collection, some items of which, are available at Heima Store, gives an innovative approach on the most humble products from our own home country.
We got to know more about Rachelle and was able to learn about her unique designs, her inspirations, and design process. As a designer, she has a passion and heart for the humble yet powerful characteristics of natural materials which Rachelle has a heart for.
1. We’d like to get to know you more and your association with One Town, One Product (OTOP). What inspired you to join One Town One Product?
First, I’d like to clarify; One Town One Product is a program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). It aims to position our local products in the market, that eventually, in every town in the Philippines, there will be a product developed and associated to it., be it be food, material or goods. I am one of the design consultants that work with these micro, small, and medium enterprises to elevate Philippine products through design. With my connection with the OTOP, it has already become a part of me and has influenced many of my designs.
It all started when I was with the Design Center of the Philippines. My first job was assistant designer to Jinggoy Buensuceso, a visual artist and designer. I am honored to have been part of the pioneering group that brought the first OTOP Marketplace to Manila FAME that was in October 2012.Now after working with these manufacturers, I have eventually developed my knowledge of the country’s potential in manufacturing and design.
I became one of the Red Box designers, a program of Citem and Manila FAME, that highlight the creativity of talented Filipino young designers
Take a look at her amazing products!
Most of the materials from her collections were from Albay, Bicol, Rachelle’s own hometown! She started collaborating with Albay manufacturers in 2015.
RADA TWO-TONE BASKETS & CHEVRON BASKETS
These beautiful two-tone baskets orignated from BICOL, a province that also known for talented artisans and weavers. This minimalist design is from Rachelle’s 2015 collection which is made from abaca ropes. These two-tone baskets have multiple uses: to be used as a planter for indoors and outdoors, a laundry basket, or even for storage!
These baskets will be the perfect pieces to match to your living room decor! You can use it to display hardbound books and magazines, plants, and others! These products are handmade from the Philippines as well.
You can get your own before it runs out at RADA COLLAB and Heima Store!
RADA KNIT KNOCK CHAIR
2. We love the way you design! If we’d want the color of the chair to be different, can it be customizeable?
It’s fully customizable. Just give us the color and you could have the chair in the color you want!
3. What was your design process in creating your designs for furniture and home decor?
My training really is in product design and development since I started my career. I am happy to be practicing Industrial Design, and I’d love to see our profession grow in the Philippines. Throughout, I have already developed my own design process. I always familiarize myself first with the company’s strengths, their materials, their capabilities, and develop from what they can do. Second would be to identify their target markets, who are their current buyers, and their target future buyers. I process these basic information to guide me with what styles, product lines, and design stories I would come up with the new collections for the companies. It’s a skill to actually learn to design for others. Sometimes, we designers tend to be too attached with our own styles that we find it challenging to adjust to the likings of the clients. It’s a process I am learning and am constantly sharing also with my students and to OTOP companies I get to meet everytime I visit towns to give seminars on product development.
I think I have already found my style as a designer. Working with several manufacturers offering different materials, one thing is sure, I have found a heart for handmade crafts and anything woven. I am more focused on natural materials, on hand-crafted products, giving emphasis on Filipino craftsmanship.
I see. Did you ever have a tendency to explore to different materials?
I have the tendency to explore different materials. Material exploration and manipulation interests me a lot. Recently, I went to explore marble from Romblon. I try to mix and match materials as well!
4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered in the process of designing your furniture?
Photo from Rachelle Dagñalan
The biggest challenge would probably be coming up with the final prototype. Unless you’re there 24/7 supervising the production, you’d get it right away, but I can’t be there all the time. As a consequence, production gets delayed, and we won’t always get it the first shot. It is also a challenge to perfect the final product, coming up with a piece that is ready for commercialization.
5. Are you planning on creating more products in the near future?
Yes! One collection at a time. I’m taking it slow because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. It costs a lot too. But in a year, I plan to release at least 1-2 collections. For my future direction, I’m opening up a design studio real soon that would offer product design services to manufacturers, and that would also bea platform for me to feature my works, collaborate with other designers, market the products we make, and also a way to document the creative process behind our works.
Talented and passionate artists like Rachelle Dagnalan is a great example of inspiration for artists and everyone in general to recognize the bold of effect of natural and raw materials especially when it’s left with the hands of passionate artists like Rachelle.