From a designer’s point of view, making your client happy is the mark of good design. “Beyond aesthetic and functionality, a design is interesting when you get a variety of reactions from its users and viewers,” shares Holly Dychangco over espresso one evening. “It’s good design when what you have created challenges the minds of people, and allow them to be able to use it.”
After finishing her degree in interior architecture and design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California, Holly opened Chrome Design Studio, an interior design company composed of eight members who pursue a creative collaboration of Cebu’s most talented and highly skilled individuals. “I wanted to be able to boost the movement of design and arts in Cebu. I grew up here, so it would be unfair if I used my skills to enhance and develop other countries before my own,” recalls Holly.
The expertise of Holly’s design team is creating functional spaces, including residential spaces, arcades and other commercial establishments in and outside of Cebu. “We take every project as a challenge,” Holly adds. “Perhaps the harder ones would be dealing with difficult clients, but it’s more than just a challenge—it’s exciting. I love working with my team. They inspire me in so many ways.”
Holly was already a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, but when RA 10350 was passed into law, Holly had to take the licensure exam to practice interior designing professionally in the Philippines. Having passed it, she is now an active member of the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers-Cebu Chapter. As a member of these two prestigious organizations, she dreams of designing a large community shelter center for those who don’t have proper homes, which would include allowing mothers and their children a lifestyle in a community. “It’s nice when you do something for the community also. It’s good to give back,” she shares.
According to Holly, a lot of people misinterpret interior designers. “They usually think we only pick pillows and paint colors,” she admits. “But in reality, we create the mood and set the tones in homes. Interior designers capture the pure essence of each person’s personality, and we are able to show that through our design.”
Holly takes inspiration from people, places and personalities—and even plants. “I travel a lot, so the world is my playground. I take everything as an inspiration,” she shares. Just recently, she launched her own accessories line Holidawn, which was borne from the lack of interior furnishings in the market. “I have always been fascinated with unique pieces, and I wanted to be able to give designers and homeowners the opportunity to accessorize their homes, and for it to be available for purchase and customization.” In the near future, she plans on collaborating with local manufacturers to help their livelihood, as well as to have the opportunity to deviate from solely designing interiors.
Last December, she had a Holidawn Home Line pop-up store to gauge the response of the market, and it was successful. The line currently offers pillows, and will soon have table runners, coasters, bed runners, linens and much more. Most of the materials—specifically the fabrics—Holly uses are outsourced from Vietnam, Malaysia and Hong Kong. “I do the initial design in the studio and send it out to be made,” she shares. “However, I will be working with local tribes to support their livelihood, and also support our local manufacturers.”
To up-and-coming designers, Holly says to never allow anyone to put you down. “Don’t let anyone bring down your creativity, express yourself, and always look at things and opportunities in a positive mindset,” she exclaims, a philosophy that perfectly encapsulates Holly’s bubbly personality. With her creativity and vision, it’s clear that Holly will take part in making Cebu a more livable, and definitely more beautiful city.
photography Philip Lapinid makeup Tatiana Agustin hair Gino Fonghe
Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015. For back issues, subscribe via Magzter.