There’s a sense of calm in the interior designs of Gino Eraña—a quiet elegance that doesn’t intimidate. Muted colors and well-thought-out vignettes remind you of posh hotel rooms, but homier and more inviting. This designer sure knows how to create spaces that speak volumes, whether it’s a 24-square-meter condo unit or a sprawling apartment.
A graduate of Interior Design from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, Eraña admits that he wasn’t one of those people who already knew from the get-go what career he wanted to pursue. He shares, “I was one of those unlucky high school kids who didn’t know what they wanted. I just knew I liked to draw.” So he ended up taking Architecture, but eventually realized it was not his cup of tea. “I immediately thought of Interior Design as an alternative because I recall being commended by my professors whenever we did interior-related work,” he adds. Eraña took to this new course like a duck to water, thanks to his inclination for the arts.
He landed his first job at Urban Abode, a local design firm which Eraña credits to have helped shape him as a professional. He cites Urban Abode’s principal designer, Kristine Neri Magturo, as one of his major influences in his craft. “I feel that she, along with my current mentor, allows me to see beyond my own perspective and elevate my view of design,” relates Eraña, who is currently part of Caramel Inc., a creative consultancy headed by designer Miguel Rosales.
Spaces as stories
If you ask Eraña what default style he subscribes to when designing spaces, he’s quick to answer that there’s none. He starts with a story, not with a particular style.
Funny stories imagined from random objects serve as this designer’s inspirations. Take, for instance, a discarded watermelon that served as his color inspiration for a project. “I was walking around to clear my head when I came across a semi-rotten watermelon in the trash which inspired an emerald, sage, and pink blush color scheme with leather accents for a small living room design I was previously banging my head over,” Eraña narrates.
Taking off from a story or a concept allows him to zero in on the direction of his design, getting cues from elements like a piece of furniture or an artwork, when necessary, to further develop a style that fits the story he has come up with. Through the years of his practice, Eraña has learned to pare down his stories, simplifying the process to achieve a cohesive narrative.
All about character
Through his stories, Eraña deftly makes use of certain elements to come up with cozy interiors that are as stylish as they are functional. When creating tight vignettes, the designer puts a premium on character by layering furniture and accessories that elevate the look of a space regardless of its size. He adds that proper lighting also helps make a room look interesting.
Additionally, colors can also make or break the look of an interior; Eraña advises to steer clear of oversaturated or artificial-looking hues. “Colors like acid green or highlighter yellow can be visually exhausting. It’s difficult to make these colors work for a cozy interior unless the desired effect is really that pop of intense color,” he explains.
Keeping it fun and personal
Decorative items play a huge part in dressing up a room. Organic décor always works no matter the style. Eraña’s go-to item? “Plants really breathe new life into interiors. They offset the rigidity of structural lines. Try incorporating potted plants or fresh stem cuttings of leaves or flowers placed in a nice vase,” he says.
Artworks are also a valuable addition to any space, but don’t just pick out a piece just because it’s by a popular artist. When choosing an artwork, Eraña stresses that it needs to satisfy two things: it has to visually match or complement your space, and you have to really like it.
Another great way to personalize spaces is to incorporate a DIY project. Eraña loves injecting DIY décor in his own home (he’s fond of polymer clay, which he molds into intricate designs that he uses for decoration). He encourages doing a DIY project “that requires a reasonable amount of labor and materials. Don’t overthink DIY decoration. You’re doing it yourself for yourself. It should be an enjoyable experience.”
Eraña believes that the entire process of interior designing should also be enjoyable. “I’m all about fun!” he says with a smile.
Tell your own fun story in your own Avida Land unit. Visit any Avida Land showroom to see which development you’d like to use as the medium for your story.
Images courtesy of Gino Eraña.