Beyond lamps and paint colors

Interior decorators and interior designers are not the same
WHILE it’s easy to think that interior design is all about choosing the right lamp or the right color of paint, the industry is much more complex than that. The Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID) is holding the first Manila Interior Design Summit from April 10 to 12, with additional events on April 16, precisely to educate the public about the nature of their work.
The event includes exhibitions, galas, and an art walk, but taking precedence are the various talks. These include GRN META: Metamorphosis of Green Spaces Design Symposium at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in BGC on April 10 to 12, and the Grammar of Movement lecture by architect, interior designer, and visual artist Carlo Calma on April 16. The final event on the list is a performance of Ballet Philippines’ Diyosa, directed by Mr. Calma, to be staged at the Theatre at Solaire on April 16.
GRN META, the main event, is a seminar for interior designers, architects, and allied professions focusing on strategies and best practices for designing the future in a sustainable manner. It explores the key principles of sustainable design, such as minimizing waste, reducing energy consumption, and using environmentally friendly materials, and how these principles can be applied in interior design and architectural projects. The seminar also emphasizes the importance of collaboration between different designers of the built environment, suppliers, and stakeholders in creating sustainable and innovative design solutions.
Maria Victoria “Ivy” Almario, interior designer and National President of PIID, said during a press conference in Quezon City on March 28 that the organization celebrates its 59th anniversary this year. “PIID was the only one who successfully lobbied that we are licensed interior designers. It’s very important. The ‘IDr.’ in front of our names is hard-won, and the envy of all other practitioners in the region.”
Paolo Castro, executive director of Manila Interior Design Summit, said, “There’s a difference between interior decorators and interior designers. Designers are the licensed ones. We have our board exam.”
Last year, Ms. Almario sent a letter out about unlicensed interior design practitioners. “It is now our purview, to review and receive complaints from our members about non-licensed practitioners being called Interior Designers in shelter publications and on social media platforms,” the letter said. “May we enjoin you to help us in our efforts to address this matter by asking that due diligence is done prior to using the initials ‘IDr.’ as an appendage to a name of a featured creative? Not all interior design creatives can use that title ‘IDr.,’ only those who took pains to study for the Board Licensure Exams and successfully pass it may use it. Others are simply addressed as Interior Decorators. It’s a small effort but the impact, psychologically brings a lot of relief to our PIID members.”
During the press conference, Ms. Almario discussed the importance of making the distinction. “Ask a hobbyist to design a casino. Or a hospital. Or a university. That is when the big guns need to go out. There’s lights, safety — you are liable to investors — materiality. This is when you hire professional interior designers. Especially in this game, where sustainability is a foregone conclusion. We want to have the best, so that 20, 30, 40 years from now, the edifice; or the built environment that they conceptualize, still stands.”
During the press conference, PIID Board Member Eric Castor also said that the PIID is part of the resource organization in revising the National Building Code. “Our National Building Code needs to be updated,” he said.
“Interior designers who are licensed are investments in design,” said Ms. Almario.
For more information on registration to the summit, follow the Manila Interior Designer Facebook page at and on Instagram at One may also contact the organization through  — Joseph L. Garcia