Discovery / Mind

A Passion That Thrives

The details are not the details. They make the design.

I would like to use this quote by the famous designer Charles Eames in telling you my story.



I go by the name of Tomas Antonio M. Ada but I prefer being called “Ada” because it’s short, simple yet classy and edgy, for me.

I would not consider myself to be an artist or a designer. I could not draw a perfect landscape, a face, or even a fashion figure, though I try sometimes. What keeps me sane and still continue this endeavour is my deep passion and love for the art and design.

I took a liking for the arts when I was 4 years old if my memory serves me right. I was in love with crayons. I would always use them in any paper I would find.

But I wasn’t the typical student artist that you would see in campus—joining poster designing contests, t-shirt and fashion designing, and the like. I wasn’t them.

But that didn’t keep me from pursuing what I love.


DETAIL 1-Nursing is an Art

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 10.01.34 AM

I graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Inc. last 2011. It wasn’t really quite the nurturing atmosphere where I could exercise my passion for the art. So during my whole stay in the nursing school, I started looking for chances where my love for design and art would thrive.

I joined in the Competitive Ballroom competition that is held in the school’s annual Sports Fest and held the crown for three consecutive years. For me, I consider dancing as an expressive movement of art through our bodies.

During my senior year, I designed a Mad Hatter-inspired costume for my graduation shoot which was loved my many.


DETAIL 2-Interior Design

After graduating and passing my licensure examination, I got accepted at the program of Interior Design at the University of Santo Tomas. I was genuinely thankful for this opportunity because who would have thought that I will be given again the chance to study my dream program at my dream school.

Even though there were a lot of negative feedbacks about me pursuing a course that was never related to my first program and wasting my four years with it, it didn’t bother me. One day, I’ll prove to them that I chose the right track for me.


DETAIL 3-Patterns and Fabrics

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 10.11.28 AM

As a child, I always loved patterns and fabrics. It thrills me every time I see one and it serves as an inspiration for many of my design plates.

I further developed my skills in manual rendering because I was not a gifted artist. I have to learn the hard way and I am very thankful for that. The design plate above shows a colour contrast study between warm and cool colours.. The flowing curtains, heavy drapes and grandiose patterns became my trademark.


DETAIL 4-Black and White

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 10.11.57 AM

Black has always been considered contemporary, sleek and sexy. It is widely used in fashion because it poses a strong and sultry yet classy aura and it makes the models appear thin. Black is also used in contemporary interiors exuding the style of a modern bachelor. To be able to cope with the demands of the market, I also immersed and practiced myself in using black in my design plates.


DETAIL 5-Inspirations

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 10.12.12 AM

I find inspiration in people, places, things and events. I would consider Lor Calma, Leo Almeria, Budji Layug, Francisco Mañosa and Rennie Mackintosh as my ideals in the design field. I also find the gowns and tableware designed by Monique Lhuillier and the shoes by Jimmy Choo very elegant and astonishing. As a child growing up in Batangas, I spent most of my time in the beaches. I would still find inspiration from the waves, shoreline, rock formation or even a single coconut tree. My love for the fashion world has also brought about a change—Coco Chanel, Coco Rocha, Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander Mcqueen & Christian Siriano to name a few. Music Festivals, fiestas and concerts are also my roots of inspiration. The interiors above was inspired from a high fashion model walking down the runway and the highly, stylized modern dance, Vogue.


DETAIL 6-Coming to Life

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 10.13.06 AM

It is always the dream of a student designer that his works come to life. The Department of Interior Design annually holds its exhibit and showcases the works of the student. For the course of Furniture Design, our professor told us to make a scale model from the designs that we have made.

This high-back chair that I made, through the help of the local townspeople from Paete, was inspired from the Ukkil pattern of the Maranao tribe from Mindanao.

One major event as a student of Interior Design in the Philippines is to be able to join the annual Obra Maestra, an inter-school interior design competition that is held annually together with WorldBex. I was the team leader of a group of 5 members from the University of Santo Tomas. We were really thrilled about the fact that we were selected to represent our school. It was really a tough yet enjoyable and learning experience. We get to actually be on-site, working together with carpenters, electricians, and other members of the design team in order to make our design feasible. We did win 3rd place and even bagged People’s Choice Award for garnering the most votes from the people.


DETAIL 7- Leadership in the Arts and Design

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 10.15.55 AM

Upon the recommendation of my professors based on my performance, I was sent to the biannual elections of officers of the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers-Student Auxiliary Body, the only recognized student organization of interior design in the Philippines. I was elected as Vice President for External Affairs.

The organization holds events and seminars that aims to raise the awareness of the profession of interior design to the students and al- lows them to meet other students from different schools to exchange experiences.

During the junior year of the students, it is a part of their curriculum to organize and design an exhibit. Annually, interior design students would usually do vignettes of living room, dining room, bedroom and bathroom. Our batch strayed from the usual tradition in light of the tragic events that happened because of the typhoon Yolanda. We have decided that we will exhibit designer stars and sell it. The proceeds will then be donated to the victims of Yolanda. I was appointed President of the Fund-raising Exhibit and it was really a challenging responsibility. In the end, all is well. We have to close the exhibit earlier than our egress date because we sold almost all of our stars. We have collected Php 126,000.00, all of which will be donated to the victims of Yolanda.


DETAIL 8-Interdisciplinary Profession

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 10.16.14 AM

I am now on my senior year and every student is required to have their thesis study. As a professional nurse, I chose to pursue a comprehensive study of the nurse station design and how it affects the nurse’s productivity and well-being. I have been in close contact with Jennie Evans, Associate Principal and Senior Vice President of Nursing Institute of Healthcare Design and has asked me to become a member of their organization. In addition, she has also advised to get the Center for Health Design’s internationally recognized EDAC (Evidence-based Design Accreditation and Certification) program. It awards credentials to individuals who demonstrate a thorough understanding of how to apply an evidence-based process to the design and development of healthcare settings, including measuring and reporting results. I am planning to get the certification in the coming months.


DETAIL 9-The Future

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 10.16.25 AM

At 23 years old, I am still confused but excited on what to do after I have graduated from the Interior Design Program because I have a lot of things on my list that I want to pursue. The list is definitely impractical but a boy’s got to dream (I believe some will be added in the future).

1. Study and acquire a double degree, MFA in Interior Design and Lighting Design at Parsons.
2. Study and acquire Master of Furniture Design at Florence Institute of Design International
3. Be a Certified Wedding and Event Planner and, Florist.
4. Study and acquire an Associate Degree in Fashion Design
5. Create my own Empire of Design that caters to the different markets—interior design, fashion, luxury, bags, jewels, accessories, events, and weddings.
6. To pursue further study that will advance the healthcare design in the Philippines


The details are not the details. They make the design.


Inspired? Give Your Thoughts!

Name and email are required fields. Your email address will not be published.
By posting a comment, you agree to the Terms & Conditions of the site.