Sometimes, all it takes to make an idea reality is one spark. And from that spark comes innovation which can pave the way for a better future. One such designer from the Philippines aims to turn his idea into a solution by joining the 2019 Lexus Design Awards with a project called 'Baluto'.

He is one of the six finalists that were hand-picked from 1,548 entries. With it, his 'Baluto' project has proceeded into the prototype phase, with support from Lexus. But what exactly is this project and how will it help people, particularly in times of floods?

Designed by Jeffrey Dela Cruz, an architecture graduate from Saint Louis University in Baguio, his project aims to help mitigate flooding for those who are living low-lying areas. Named after the local term for fishing vessels used by people living in the north, it combines the traditional 'bahay kubo' design but has elements of a boat in order for the it to withstand flooding.

Baluto image

In an interview with Dela Cruz, he said that he decided to join this year's Lexus Design Award because he saw it as an opportunity to turn his study into reality.

“It will be a probable solution for a very serious problem in our community and the entire Philippines. This project was conceived during my undergraduate thesis in Saint Louis University, Department of Architecture. And because of LDA they gave me an opportunity to build the life scale prototype which is now under construction in Bautista, Pangasinan,” said Dela Cruz.

Being a victim of flooding himself in his own community on numerous occasions, this project is his way of addressing the problem head-on. And thanks to LDA, Dela Cruz was given an opportunity to build a 1:1 scale prototype. When completed, Dela Cruz plans to show it to everyone, as well as to other designers and architects.

Baluto image

“My goal is to make it significant to people. It will be open to the public to gain their interest. And if the government wants to pursue this kind of project, I am willing to work with them,” added Dela Cruz.

Dela Cruz was also able to hone and refine his project further with the help of a 2-day mentoring workshop in New York. Guiding him were four renowned designers: Shohei Shigematsu, Jaime Hayon, Jessica Rosenkratz, and Sebastian Wrong. According to him, their ideas and suggestions helped him improve the aesthetic design, as well as the function of the project. Wrong even stated that his idea is full of common sense, pragmatic, practical and is actually feasible.

Here's to hoping that Dela Cruz's Baluto project wins when all of the finalists show their finished products at the 2019 Milan Design Week in April. Good luck, kabayan.