art & design, filmmaking, set design

project remote

love the set design i made for this meralco ad. this was actually a sequel to the butiki tvc meralco produced months before (see photo right).  director eric matti discussed with me that he wanted the living room to be textured, a bit like amelie (that french movie that rocked the world in 2001). of course considering that this is in the pinas, i figured we’d do amelie in balara. and what an exciting combination that was 😀


one thing i did was unearth the pegs ive been keeping as ammunition for later projects. for one thing, im a huge fan of vintage, retro furniture and i was finally able to play around with the style for this project.  i was also excited to finally use the photographs of erwin olaf, photographer extraordinaire, as inspiration for my design. here are samples of his wonderful essays and the design put into these photographs.

just look at the details. i drool over the textures of this set. im such a geek! haha

ill post more about olaf in another blog entry.


here are the rest of the pegs i worked on for this project. here are the screen captures from the movie amelie. the rest are retro interiors and some furniture. lovely! 😀

take note of the wonderful wallpaper and styling of this bedroom. wrought iron bedframe, gilded picture frames, fabric trimmings on the lamp. below check out the throwpillows, the kitchen tiles, the green wallpaper in amelie’s father’s apartment and the curtains! lovely lovely lovely! i just geek out on the art direction of this film hahaha


here are a few more details that inspired me for the choice of furniture pieces we got for our set design. love that lacquered wood cabinet. i remember my grandmother’s tv cabinet with the wooden slat slide cover at the front. ive already bribed my lola to give me that cabinet but she hasnt budged yet. haha

dont you think this is balara enough? we shot in a house in bulacan for the movie inheritance that looked exactly like this. for all i know it’s probably the same house 😀


got a wonderful print for the wallpaper but i had to spraypaint it brown to dull out the yellow rose pattern. wanted to get the starburst wallclocks that are all the fad now but might take too much attention so i decided on the boxy one that’s been hung long dead on our terracotta walls in katipunan for decades. the rest of the wall frames are also vintage of course, tokens from the martial law era. tatems’ treasure trove at 47L has always been an artists’ haven and they found themselves in the limelight with this project. was able to use tatems’ wall prints of prison songs and that poster of inang bayan, among others. fantastic!

take note of the frames flanking the big one. on the left is a portrait of my grandparents. on the right is tatems in the 70s.  the big wedding frame in the middle is a family member of the owners of the house we shot in. lovely! the wood panelling of the wall is also a homage to the wall in my grandmother’s house.


i was really excited when we worked on this project. and im equally thrilled of its outcome. they loved it so much that a 3rd tvc featuring the butiki was produced and they had to recreate my living room. unfortunately another designer worked on that project and not me.  he in turn, had to rent out the stuff i used in this set.  i dont think im that old or established enough for one of my sets to be recreated by a senior designer, but it happened.  i guess it comes with the work description. it sucks a bit because given the choice i would rather do it myself but i have to deal with it.

nevertheless, im happy.  cheers!


5 thoughts on “project remote

  1. benjamin, you have to take better pictures of your sets for your portfolio! if you want sideline i can recommend you to real living to do setups for the decor ideas section (interiors based on movies? hehe). pero gamay ra ang bayad kumpara sa ads…with same effort

  2. haha i have a few good pictures. would love to do that but are you saying i could just pullout items from shops using real living’s account? that would be super fun! hahaha imagine taking out stuff from loft design or dimensione just to shoot them. astig ! im already peeing in my pants. kidding.

  3. yes you could choose stuff and real living staff will take care of writing letters and pulling out. may ideas ka? we can pitch them to the editor..hehe…like mga three setups based on some movie pegs or other stuff you can think of na uso. you’ve become an interior design nerd..haha..naexcite jud mag pull out sa dimensione

  4. haha sige will work out an idea we can pitch to them. pwede siyang study on design for movies and tv (like ugly betty or devil wears prada, to name a few) tapos may recommended dressup to get the look. char! hahahaha and tips on how to work on a budget.

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