Interior designer Joy Ejercito is a formidable force to be reckoned with in the local industry. As a member of the Board of Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID), she holds the positions of Executive Director for Education, Over-all Chairman of PIID Student Auxiliary Body and consultant for the PIID Mozaic newsletter- positions that have helped her wield considerable influence in the industry and in the academe. The recognition and responsibility became a part of Joy’s life after a challenging but rewarding career in interior design.

With the intention of pursuing a career in medicine, Joy took up a pre-medicine course in University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB). Since she wanted to continue her studies in Manila, she opted to take up Interior Design at University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) to better facilitate her transfer from one campus to another. She initially planned to shift back to a pre-medicine course after a year but stayed with the course that she grew to love. She became so invested in the field that she even became the first president of the UP Designers’ Corp.

Following her graduation, Joy passed the board exams and immediately began working on a variety of projects. To give her the inspiration that she needed to give each development justice, she cites midcentury modern designers Alvar Aalto, Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe and Eero Saarinen as her role models. “I am a fan of the way that they can achieve a streamlined appearance with the intelligent use of clean and simple lines and cutting-edge materials”, she shares.

Asked about her own design philosophy, Joy stresses the importance of following the design process to be able to come up with a good design. She says that, “It is essential to start by doing research. The research does not only involve the design of the interior or furniture but also the needs of the clients. You have to consider the clients budget, time constraints, perception of spaces and the way of life.” She also emphasizes that the client should be the focus of the total process.

Judging from her impressive body of work, it seems that Joy is more inclined towards simple and clean lines, earth colors with accents of bold colors, and modern contemporary furniture. She also takes great pride in guaranteeing ease of maintenance by choosing the appropriate materials within the given budget limitations. However, she says that the personal preference of the client still has more bearing over the style and design of the place. “I am just here to advise and guide the client for a successful conceptualization of design and execution of the project within his requirements.”

As a former faculty member of the Philippine Women’s University School of Fine Arts and Design (PWU SFAD), this educator-at-heart has a lot of advice for the new generation of aspiring interior designers. She declares that an interior designer should help the client understand that seeking professional help will help reduce expenses and construction costs while providing realistic budgets and continuity throughout the project. She also reminds interior design hopefuls to be flexible and understanding when working with architects, engineers, contractors, and other field-related specialists involved in interior spaces.

Joy, who is a mother of four and trains as a triathlete in her limited spare time, also says that a designer should never stop learning. She encourages up-and-coming interior designers to improve their skills by participating in workshops, exhibits, conventions and field trips. Finally, she shares something that she practices herself – plan and provide a functional, beautiful, and meaningful interior to satisfy the needs of the clients.

Written by Therese Dehesa

Photographed by Ed Simon (portrait)

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