10 Questions With The Design Duo Of Desaurum Design Studio

Interior designer Honey Mutia and her partner Rosa Manduriao both got their degrees in interior design when the Philippine School of Interior Design was still in consortium with De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. After practicing what they love to do for some time, the duo decided to have their partnership formalized and recognized as a full-time profession. Desaurum Design Studio is known for completing their work with great accessories to soften the interiors, graceful and stylish.

Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about them:

1 | If you weren’t gonna be an interior designer, what would you be?

Honey: I would have delved into Landscape Architecture if I did not pursue Interior Design. I have always had that love for gardens, plants, and flowers. Unfortunately I do not have a green thumb, so I guess that worked well for the plants that I would have murdered

Rosa: I would probably be a psychologist. Well, my frustrations in studying psychology are greatly satisfied in our job today—studying our clients’ personality and what they want.

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2 | What do you wanna be known for?

Rosa: Of course our craft. We love making our clients happy and satisfied with what we love doing—designing.

Honey: Looking back on our projects, there was really no design style that we stuck with. We mostly adjust to our clients’ wants, needs, and budget; and, we did really well with that. We never impose any single style to our clients. So I guess, we want to be known as Free Flow Designers.

3 | Complete this: Design is _____.

Honey: Evolving. It’s never constant, it may develop from something simple to complex or the other way around. Even in design history, the styles have always been a revolt or an inspiration from a previous style.

Rosa: Design is science and art combined together to create something essential and beautiful.

4 | What is your design process?

Honey: We always start each project with what we call our “interview portion.” We sit down with our client/s and discuss with them what and how they envision their space will be. We ask them what calms them, annoys them, inspires them. We want to know their routine, what they do for a living, their hobbies. Pretty much, we go to a sort of personal level with their lives. We want their space to be their home that they look forward to seeing after each day. I think this is the most important part before we execute any design proposals.

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Rosa: We give swatch and mood boards to support our perspectives and other drawings. After the design is approved, we have them quoted by suppliers and contractors to have cost comparison. Then we move forward to construction and finishing after everything is approved. Lastly, we furnish and accessorize the place.

5 | Who’s your design hero?

Honey: Arch. (Dame) Zaha Hadid! She conquered the world that was dominated by men and left a mark of greatness through her work. Her innovative designs are very organic and expressive yet timely.

Rosa: Frank Lloyd Wright. He believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and environment. All elements of the structure should appear unified. As though they belong together.

6 | Where do you get your inspiration from?

Honey: From everywhere! It can come from an existing painting of the client, the latest trend in our favorite furniture shop, from a recent travel, from nature. What you do with your inspiration is an entirely different story.

Rosa: We also get inspired by the works of the Almario sisters and Memia Interiors.

7 | What’s your design no-no?

Honey: Don’t just follow trends. You don’t have to do all wood when you’re the french lace and velvet type of person. Go for what you feel most comfortable with especially in your personal space.

Rosa: Splurging on sale items just because they are cheaper. Not all items on sale have good quality (They are on sale for certain reasons!). Another design no-no is wrong placement of furniture pieces or disregarding the ergonomics and traffic flow of the area. Poor lighting is another design no-no as it greatly affects the area’s functionality.

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8 | What’s your ultimate design tip?

Honey: Own your style. It may not please everyone and it may not be trendy now, but it’s your own. It’s okay to be a non-conformist. And function over aesthetics. It’s just logical. If you can manage not to compromise any of the two, so much better!

Rosa: Know what to prioritize and don’t buy things right away. Get two or more suppliers so you can compare what’s best and what suits your budget.

9 | What’s your dream project at the moment?

We always talked about doing a resort, somewhere near a nice beach where you can work and chill at the same time!

10 Where is it best to splurge budget on?

Honey: Definitely, on a good mattress! I have never met a client who said they did not like a good mattress! That, and a good sofa!

Rosa: Good quality furniture pieces and hardware. They need to last long because you always use them.

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