Architecture beyond structure: Lixil, Grohe bet on PH artist for World Architecture Festival 2024

See where architecture transcends structure

It’s not every day we witness architects pour their passion into creating stunning infrastructures with a story to tell. In the upcoming World Architecture Festival 2024, dedicated artists will share their exceptional creations, each piece transcending mere structures. 

These masterpieces serve functional purposes and enrich their locations’ cultural landscape. In the local scene, the spotlight falls on Loboc Performing Arts Center, which aims to give Bohol a home to its performing artists.

Architecture jurors and some former WAF winners deliberate for the Grohe Young Visionaries Challenge.

Place with a purpose 

Lixil, the leading manufacturer of water and housing products, and Grohe, Lixil’s brand for kitchen fittings and bathroom solutions, chose one local artist out of seven finalists on May 7, 2024 at Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, to partake in the much-awaited WAF 2024 in Singapore. 

The architecture jurors and some former WAF winners interviewed shortlisted applicants online for the Grohe Young Visionaries Challenge, which grants the winner a free WAF competition entry. After thorough deliberation, the judges placed their bets on Jonathan Cruz’s Loboc Performing Arts Center, a three-dimensional rendering of a community-built performing arts center in Bohol. 

The envisioned arts center appears to float, surrounded by a pool of water. It consists of two stacked vessels made of laminate wood cladding for weatherproofing. The whole structure, on the other hand, is built with reinforced concrete for durability against compressive stress. 

 Jonathan Cruz’s Loboc Performing Arts Center

According to Cruz, the Boholano people possess “magic” for performing arts, with certain artists gaining national recognition. However, despite their contribution to the local arts scene, they lack a dedicated performance space to call their own, which birthed the arts center.

“Loboc is driven by the community. I think, visually, people can tell If you're from Bohol, and this is ours. Definitely, it looks like the old town, where there's gold and silver. There’s a sense of ownership that people would feel with this building,” he said.

Grohe on helping artists shine 

For the past seven years, Grohe has helped WAF finalists prepare for their presentations by conducting practice crit sessions. Its bet on Cruz’s piece marks the first time the brand is supporting a local firm for the competition.

Nikki Buensalido is seen critiquing the floor plan of an entry for the Grohe Young Visionaries Challenge.

“We are seeing that Filipino architects are being recognized more internationally. Just last year, we had the highest number of shortlisted firms at 12 in WAF. We believe that this shows that the local architecture industry is globally competitive,” stated Grohe. 

Grohe’s design team was also awarded the Design Team of the Year by Red Dot Design Awards, which helps prove its commitment to artistic architecture that transcends what’s visible.

Jason Buensalido

The road ahead of Grohe

Lixil's brand is launching a luxury category called Grohe Spa, which combines progressive designs with curated materials, finishes, and colors to turn bathrooms into a high-end home spa. 

“Versatile customization options transform the bathroom into a home spa, impeccably tailored to individual preferences. The Grohe Spa bathes us in blissful new multisensory experiences. Soothing, memorable, and distinctive, just like the calming sound of water,” the brand said. 

Community-driven designs like Loboc Performing Arts Center show how art is produced by and for the people, offering the potential to serve the masses with infrastructures that truly cater to their needs rather than just being mesmerizing, tall buildings to look at. 

As Filipino architects gain international acclaim, Grohe's initiative doesn’t only turn their artistic potential into power but also bridges them into doors of colorful opportunities that can help amplify their community impact.