Benilde’s Interior Design Students Launch ‘Pandama: Resonating with Silence’ for the Hearing-Impaired

Since the space’s occupants consist of people with different degrees of hearing loss, the interiors were devised and designed in such a way that emphasizes their unique ability to grasp their environment through tactile, visual, olfactory, and auditory stimuli.

Through raising echoes and delivering designs beyond senses, the graduating students of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s Interior Design track conceptualized, created, and presented their capstone project entitled “Pandama: Resonating with Silence.”

Composed of 14 graduating interior design students and their adviser, IDr. Celiza Sim, the Pandama team created a project for their INDEXHI (Interior Design Exhibit) class, a service-learning course that provides an educational experience for students to engage in service-oriented activities. The Pandama team partnered with the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) as its beneficiary; a school founded in 1907, serving as the only government-owned and pioneer institution for the Deaf in the Philippines.

Not too long after, the team came up with “Pandama: Resonating with Silence,” a design promise to bring an inclusive and experiential design to its users. Since the space’s occupants consist of people with different degrees of hearing loss, the interiors were devised and designed in such a way that emphasizes their unique ability to grasp their environment through tactile, visual, olfactory, and auditory stimuli. Pandama aims to enhance the user’s connection within the space by creating an intuitive design that allows proper function without any hindrances, where the users do not feel limited.

The batch formed a vision-mission that becomes the very beacon of their advocacy:

Mission: Pandama aims to exemplify the brilliance of its users by allowing their excellence to thrive in spatial conditions. The mission is to provide a design that exudes this, an inclusive environment for the deaf community that unleashes their true potential where the users do not feel limited. This will be done by creating a co-working space that allows them to connect to their environment through tactile, visual, olfactory, and auditory stimuli as well as the introduction of a specialized acoustic and lighting system that is translated throughout a curvilinear silhouette, reflected around the space. 


Vision: The vision is to amplify the sensory reach of people with hearing loss through experiential design interventions that permit the deaf community of the Philippine School for the Deaf to seamlessly connect with the space and one another.

The batch visualizes to design an inclusive and experiential space for Deaf students in a multipurpose co-working space intended to hold 50 Deaf students ranging from ages 12 to 20. The space is around 16.2 meters by 5.5 meters or 89.1 square meters. All this which can be achieved through the following objectives: 

  • To cultivate both a multipurpose and modular environment for the deaf community
  • To create a design that serves as a dining, learning, and lounging space, with movable furniture pieces that could be adjusted or fixed according to a certain variation to cater to whichever activity the users of the space desire,
  • To allow users to connect spatially through sensory design interventions,
  • To utilize visual cues in signaling or alerting the users for emergencies or announcements, through the installation of a color-coded lighting system programmed with specific signals:
    • Red for emergencies
    • Green for announcements
    • Blue for “lights out” 
  • To lessen noise and reverberation by using sound-absorbing materials such as acoustic panels, soft furniture pieces, and curved edges. This is to also direct vibrations towards the user’s learning experience.

The Pandama team consists of the INDEXHI adviser, IDr. Iza Sim; Erika Ordinario as Project Manager; the Front of House committee with Tala Gil and Kim Guinto; Creatives Committee with Kyrah Sy and Patricia Pesebre; Finance Committee with Michaela Mandap and Millicent Go; the Marketing Committee has Nina Rubio, Jermela Munji, and Aundrea Bunyi; and lastly, the Logistics Committee has Michael Vazquez, Mica Tempongko, Jasmine Sy and Mark Arana. 

From the first meeting of INDEXHI, students were given the chance to choose a committee they would see themselves fit to work in. Each committee had a very important role to play in making their advocacy a success, each with different functions: 

  1. The Logistics committee was responsible for the working drawings, perspectives and videos related to the renovation of the dining hall of the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD). They also worked closely with the contractor and engineer in the process, all while sourcing for affordable materials and furniture to be incorporated in the space. 
  1. The Marketing committee provided marketing strategy and coordination when it came to the fundraising project preparations. They were also responsible for hauling in sponsors to help out with the events. This committee worked very closely with Creatives and the Front of House members.
  1. The Finance committee was responsible for holding the batch’s funds under a bank account and Gcash account. They controlled the budget for the money that came in and out for the project and fundraisers. They also kept everybody updated on a weekly basis on the balance status of the team.
  1. The Creatives committee was in charge of all social media collaterals, batch book, presentation boards and logo.
  1. The Front of the House committee were the INDEXHI representatives of the batch. They served as the megaphones when it came to weekly campaigns on the social media accounts. They were also responsible for working on the content and captions for the posters that the Creatives provided, as well as monitoring the likes and shares of each batch member. 
  1. Lastly, the Project Manager was the face of the batch. The project manager was someone flexible and approachable throughout the process, having a general overview of all committees.

To provide further context behind Pandama’s design and research, the following principles obtained from Gallaudet University’s Deafspace Design Guidelines were used and were translated into the design as such:

  • Space and Proximity

Uses open space free from any visual obstruction aided with the use of modular tables for easier face-to-face interaction

  • Sensory Reach

Minimizes vibrational distraction through the use of soft furniture pieces

Delineation of flooring material allow directed vibrational cues

  • Mobility and Proximity

Allocates wide pathways for easier communication as well as division of zones for collaborative and individual learning experiences

  • Lighting and Color

Ambient lighting was used in the space to minimize eye strain and wall washed lighting to help control distractions caused by shadows.

Lastly the colors scheme for the space contrasts skin color so that it doesn’t get in the way when the users sign

  • Acoustics and Electromagnetic Interference 

Padded wall panels, soft furniture pieces, curvilinear silhouettes, floor covering materials and wall finishes were used to help with the acoustics of the space

Pandama: Resonating with Silence officially launched their fundraising events during the month of September 2021, held a promising virtual exhibit on November 20, 2021, and is set to finish construction and project turnover by February 2022.

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