What happened to the NAIA 1 redesign project?
MANILA – Award-winning industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue shared the status of the planned makeover of Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“The concept is done, it was already made. It just needs further refinement,” Cobonpue, whose furniture has been bought by high-profile personalities such as actor Brad Pitt, said in an interview on the ANC program “Pipol.” “I think the task of the government now is how to execute it well.”
“We’re actually doing the conceptual design, which is basically 80% done,” he added.
Last June, Malacañang said the planned makeover of the NAIA Terminal 1 will proceed, with the group led by Cobonpue and the firm of architect Leandro Locsin both working on it.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda had said the Cobonpue group will do the interiors of NAIA building 1, while Locsin will handle the architectural services.
The Palace also thanked the Cobonpue group for offering its services for free.
‘Not after recognition’
In the “Pipol” interview aired on ANC on Monday, Cobonpue stressed that they are not after the recognition when he agreed to redesign NAIA Terminal 1.
“Just to get the job done, it’s fine with us. We’re not in it for the recognition. We were just working on this really quietly, in fact, for eight months. And when we were ceremoniously turned away, that’s when media broke the story,” he explained.
Cobonpue, architect Royal Pineda and designer Budji Layug earlier submitted a design plan for the airport, but it was shelved in 2011.
The government has set aside a P2.8-billion budget for the rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 1 and expects the project to be finished in two years.
Cobonpue said he learned a lot of lessons from this project.
“The airport was a lesson to me, of how government, media, how all these players work. So you kind of understand now what goes on behind the scenes,” he said.
Without mentioning names, he added: “I mean, I’ve heard a lot of stories about government. I see how really good-natured people can become puppets to the whole play. And not to fault them for it, but it’s really the system that’s really hard.”
Despite this, Cobonpue said he is happy that the planned makeover project has inspired other people to submit their own ideas as well.
“Even now, with the airport, a lot of people come up to me with their own solutions on how to fix the airport,” he said. “And I’m telling them that we’re only doing the design. [Still] I think a little help is better than nothing at all. I think a little change at the airport is really a big boost to the country because it really is a symbol of everything wrong that has been happening to our country.”