Going through 100 design sketches a day, with most of them being rejected, did not deter then aspiring industrial designer Joseph Rastrullo in pursuing his passion.
He has since come a long way since apprenticing under renowned furniture designer Budji Layug, who is known for his detailed and meticulous works. “Sa kanya pa lang talagang pinipiga niya ang utak ko,” Rastrullo candidly said, recounting his stint under Layug's wing. In fact, he was not joking when he said that the designer par excellence would reject most of (if not all) the 100 sketches he would make in a day.
When Rastrullo would be asked to help with some of the design icon's projects, Layug would already tell him how he could improve his design sketches further even before the designs were presented to the clients. "You would do manual drawings, AutoCAD, 3D maps, whether computerized or manual, basta he just wants to see the form; he wants to see how you develop it," Rastrullo recounts.
Details of Rastrullo's Geometria light installation.
Fast forward to today, the former Layug protégé caters to a wide clientele, ranging from big brands to celebrities, and has also established an eponymously-named design studio. In addition to that, he has showcased his works several times in exhibits such as Manila FAME; even renowned industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue cited his designs and works during his talk at the Festival of Ideas in November.
Part of Rastrullo's rise as a young designer to watch for can be credited to that time that altered the course of his career altogether: The day he bravely approached Layug in church, and asked him if he could be his apprentice. “My mentality at that time was I’d rather go to the source of where the inspiration comes from,” Rastrullo recounts. Fate granted his wish and he was happy with the outcome, even if it meant tough love under Layug’s tutelage. "[In] school you learn how to make things, but with him it’s mastery."
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Rastrullo's learnings from Layug are reflected in the intricateness of his designs, such as the Terza lamp, which is made out of acrylic but has a soft texture reminiscent of a napkin drop.
During the development process of the Terza lamp, Rastrullo was very hands-on such that he would visit the factory everyday to see the lamp’s progress and give his critique on how to improve it. The hard work paid off after it was exhibited at the 61st Manila FAME in March 2015.
Rastrullo's Terza Lamp installation as seen during the 61st Manila FAME
“It was a very light piece and at the same time, a very artistic one that can be mass produced,” said Rastrullo, of his much lauded piece.
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Photographs courtesy of Joseph Rastrullo. Images Jana Jimenez.