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CITEM crowns Nolasco Ditan as winner of Tropeo KATHA Design Competition 2023

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — An architecture graduate from the Far Eastern University has won the Tropeo KATHA Design Competition 2023 organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

Nolasco Ditan won the search launched by the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for a new trophy design for its KATHA Awards. This recognition program aims to inspire and challenge Philippine exporters and designers to innovate and develop products for export constantly.

With stainless steel as its primary material, Ditan’s trophy design draws inspiration from and adds his personal touch to the original KATHA Awards logo, which was designed by National Artist for Visual Arts and Design Center of the Philippines’ Founding Director, Arturo Luz. The current KATHA Awards Trophy was designed by CITEM Redbox Talents Wataru Sakuma and Jinggoy Buensuceso in 2012.


“To embody sustainability, the trophy’s design should be environmentally conscious and demonstrate a commitment to responsible resource usage. Stainless steel is an excellent choice due to its recyclability and durability. The design can incorporate minimalist elements to minimize material consumption, emphasizing the idea that true excellence doesn’t need excess,” Nolasco explained.

Among the 12 submissions, Ditan’s design distinguished itself through its thoughtful integration of aesthetic, functional, and symbolic elements and its use of durable material.

Completing the winning circle are Chris Johnniel France Rana of the Department of Science and Technology – Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI), second place; Enric Carl I. Callangan of Unosinotra, third place; Christian Jay Santillan and Lester Nathaniel Fernando of the University of the Philippines, fourth place; and Miguel Ramon Habito of Metryk PH, fifth place.

Rhea Matute, Executive Director of the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP) and one of the competition’s judges, noted that the winning design was the most resolved out of all the entries.

“It has the values of the logo of KATHA. There is an iteration; the proposed trophy design is not just a mimicking of the original logo, but it used it as a jump-off point… Another factor is its manufacturability, understanding that one of the criteria is how it’s going to be manufactured as well as whether it would be an efficient way of manufacturing. And the fact that it’s a mono-material, there were fewer issues to resolve. It’s the most complete proposal that was presented,” said Matute.

Visual artist and businessman Carlo Lamano, who was Chairman of the competition’s board of judges, added, “What stood out to me was the integrity of the design and the balance. The linear approach of the design with regards to completing the design with one line only. Of all the pieces, it has the characteristics of withstanding the test of time, such as strength and resilience.”

Joining Carlo and Rhea on the board of judges are Mitch Shivers, an industrial designer and faculty member at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts and Miriam College Department of Arts and Design; Clang Garcia, Philippine Ambassador of the World Food Travel Association; and Dr. Edward Fereira Ph.D., CITEM executive director.

Established in the early 80’s, the KATHA Awards is as an important hallmark of Philippine product design excellence, innovation, and craftsmanship. It was conceptualized to elevate the design standards of Philippine export products, inspiring skillful exploration of new materials and processes among designers and manufacturers in the home, fashion lifestyle, and food sectors.

The new trophy design by Nolasco will be launched at the 72nd edition of Manila FAME in October.

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