It’s a Saturday afternoon and a group of twentysomethings has gathered for an event in the middle of suburban Makati. Two artists pass out beers from behind a bar outfitted where a towering giraffe silently watches while the sounds of ambient lounge jazz blare softly from a pair of speakers nearby. Conversations swirl lazily around the space, many of them punctuated by laughter, about art and music and literature, but they almost always come back to the scenery itself: the thought-provoking pieces that beckon for a closer view.
This vignette marks a typical night in Pineapple Lab, a space tucked into a quiet neighborhood in Barangay Poblacion in Makati City. Since its inception, it has been serving a dual purpose: as a haven for local and international artists to showcase their craft and as a conduit for the local community to sample these works.
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Running such a unique space requires the energy of likeminded yet diverse individuals who share a common passion for its advocacy. While friendship and camaraderie do play an integral role in their success, the Pineapple Lab team has more tricks up their sleeves than a shared passion for art. Balancing the fine line of mixing friendship with business takes a certain type of mindfulness and inclusivity.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. It's all about aligning visions and having the ability to have difficult conversations maturely. This includes the ability to talk through tough topics and holding weekly check-ins with each other is great avenue to do so. “It helps that we regularly touch base about the direction that we wish to take for Pineapple Lab,” reveals Andre Pamintuan, Creative Director of Pineapple Lab, “This way, we can become clearer about what our shared goals are and create, revise, and renew with constant and open communication.”
Know each other's value. Having a clear sense of what each team member brings to the table helps establish clearly defined roles & responsibilities. “We all have our individual strengths that provide value to growing Pineapple Lab and we've learned how to harness those strengths,” shares Andrei, “Moreover, learning each of our individual passions also adds new meaning to what we do because when strengths and passions collide, we find our real purpose.”
Nurture your friendship outside of the business. In other words, don't allow the friendship to be overruled by the working parameters. “No group undertaking can succeed without fostering a myriad of healthy relationships within the core team,” reveals Andrei, saying that the team regularly enjoys activities outside of the work place. Seeing team members in different environments helps them understand each other better and the way they make decisions. “By alloting time away from work to strengthen our bond with each other, we also build on the vibrant atmosphere of inclusiveness that Pineapple Lab is known for.”
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Photographs by Vyn Radovan