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Exterior perspective on The Dancing Archive: A Performative Interior Design Approach to Anarchive Dance, August 2022. Photo courtesy Maita Hagad.

Coming from a family of artists and designers, Margaret Therese S. Hagad showcases her craftsmanship in interior design. Born and raised in Negros Occidental, Margaret, fondly known as Maita, introduced sustainability and sensory play when putting up a space for the Asia Young Designer Awards in 2020. She snagged the gold for Interior Design.

Coming from a family of designers, architects, and artists, Maita’s eye for design is embedded in her roots. Having both parents as architects, she eventually pursued Interior Design.
Standing are dad Arch. Felix and Maita. Seated are brother Gabriel, mom Arch. Cathy, and sister Bettina.

Maita’s parents share her passion – her father, Felix, is an architect and her mother, Cathy, is an architect and an interior designer. Having to explore different career options, at first she never thought of becoming an interior designer as she saw the amount of work both her parents had to put in for every project. Initially she wanted to become a jewelry designer, but eventually, Maita enrolled in Fashion Design and Merchandising at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde. Just a few days before school started, she decided to shift to Interior Design.

Memory in Space

Early on, Maita Hagad showed promise, winning the annual interschool interior design competition. She emerged the champion amongst other finalists for her Estilo de Vida entry in November 2020. Her project was titled “Memory in Space”.

The competition required designers to come up with a modern design and innovative technology for their home-office within six weeks. The designers were challenged to enhance the space through their senses, using sight, sound, and touch to boost their artistry. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, participants had to make do with their own spaces at home to create their office or study.

Maita described her work as experimental and personal. She had to put in all the work as she only learned the basics of 3D Modelling. She spent more than three months learning the software's advanced features with her schoolmates' help. Having to exert additional effort and hard work, she was able to pull through, emerging as the champion. Though this was her first competition, it paved the way for her to move further.

Community retail shop within the mountain resort.  Photo Courtesy Maita Hagad.

Exploring Bagasse Mountain Resort

Just a few months after winning Estilo de Vida, Maita joined another competition which managed to hit two birds with one stone. What initially was a part of her school requirement from her Hotel and Design class, also became a winning piece submission to Nippon Paint’s sponsored international competition, Asia Young Designer Awards.

AYDA was started in 2018 when creators from Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam gathered to present their ideas in the world of design.

Bagasse Mountain Resort design pitch. Photo Courtesy Maita Hagad.

During the interview, Maita discussed her design concept for a mountain resort. With focus on raw materials, she chose bagasse, the dry pulp residue left after the extraction of juice from sugarcane. Titled “Bagasse: Mountain Resort: Designing for Memory and Sustainability”, Maita won the award for Best Sustainable Design at the regional finale of AYDA in July 2021. Her recognition did not only bring pride to Negros, but the Philippines as a whole.

Maita chose the highland town of Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental as her location for the project. The community played a huge part in her childhood. The sustainable aspect of the design was of paramount concern to Maita, she highlighted the space’s ecological balance, providing facilities for visitors to freely explore and learn about Negros’s varied fauna species and sweeping mountain landscape. This was evident in the botanical dome of the resort’s wellness center, as well as the walkway through the park. These add-on features of the resort could also provide livelihood to members of the community.

Movement Laboratory from The Dancing Archive. Photo Courtesy Maita Hagad

Moving Into the Future

Maita is pushing forward into the future with Negrense design heritage rooted in her heart. She chose the province’s iconic capitol lagoon as setting for her thesis project – an interactive space that combines dance, sculpture, and installations.

“The Dancing Archive” incorporates two disciplines dear to Maita, dance and interior design. She set up designated interactive areas where people can express themselves through movement and art.  Looking into the future, Maita is keen to push for further education, earn her license, and eventually put her concepts into a solid structure.

Text By: Abbie Uychiat
Photo Courtesy: Maita S. Hagad

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