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Tara, let's eat!

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Neal P. Corpus

Posted on September 27, 2021

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We talk to designer and illustrator Dan Matutina on creating Shake Shack’s hoarding for its newest branch in Alabang Town Center.

In the year 2021, there are few things as enticing as an invitation to go out and eat with friends. And with the newest branch of Shake Shack opening soon in Alabang Town Center, combined with more and more people getting vaccinated, we finally might be able to indulge the invitation.

The digital render of the hoarding. Image from Shake Shack's website.

And that is exactly what the hoarding — the temporary walls that enclose the construction — of the new branch captures.

With the concept “Tara, let’s go!”, the hoarding was designed by design studio Plus63. It features people enjoying the outdoors, enjoying each other’s company, and of course, some Shake Shack goodies.

Dine-in at Shake Shack’s existing branches (including Greenbelt 5) is now allowed at limited capacity if you’re vaccinated; if you’re yet to get your first or second jab, take-out and delivery is of course still available (details below!).

While we wait for the new Alabang Town Center branch to open, we talked to designer and illustrator Dan Matutina of Plus63 about the inspiration behind the hoarding, the process of designing, why design is important.

The actual hoarding at Alabang Town Center. Image from Shake Shack's Instagram page.

PASYAL: Tell us about the design for the hoarding of Shake Shack in Alabang Town Center. What inspired it?

DAN MATUTINA: The overall feel of our design presents a collage of stories, memories, and moments of "Townies”, people who see Alabang Town Center as an extension of their life — the neighborhood mall where they can get their personal and home needs, a place of fun and entertainment, and a third space for work and gatherings.

Our concept, “Tara, Let's Go!”, emphasizes that invitation (saying it twice!) for people to be curious and take a peek at the preview hoarding and interact with design.

We have 3D objects merging with the design to give people a sense of depth and perspective. We conceptualized a variety of surface planes — some extending and receding — to give it an interesting texture.

We wanted the design and production to be tactile (in some parts) to make interacting with the artwork more fun and engaging for everyone.

The hoarding's 3D elements up close. Image from Shake Shack's Instagram page.

What was the process like? Were there any special considerations or challenges?

We really enjoyed collaborating on the Shake Shack shop in Alabang Town Center. The Shake Shack team supported our vision, and even encouraged us to explore different concepts and ideas.

“Tara” was the take off point, an invitation to a welcoming place for Townies. It’s a reminder of good times in Alabang Town Center, and also presents something that they can look forward to whenever they visit.

Each of the proposed concepts and directions was unique, but all communicated the same things: happy memories, joyful experiences, engaging the senses, and making connections. We presented three different concepts and they picked “Tara, Let’s Go!”.

One of the things that they wanted to be present in the work was the idea of having 3D interactive objects as part of the hoarding design.

To you, why is design important?

Design is important because at its core it trains us to create solutions for different problems using creativity, wit and critical thinking. The design practice is resilient and adaptive to uncertainties brought about by our fast changing world.

Design allows us to think ahead and open up our imagination to various possibilities. Design can help, especially in the time of great need.

Plus63 also worked with Uniqlo for the opening of its flagship store in Glorietta 5. Image from Plus63's website.

What's your favorite thing about what you do, and what is the most challenging?

My favorite thing about what I do is the fact that I genuinely love design. I love the work that I do. There’s always an opportunity to collaborate with exciting clients, designers and other creative people. It’s an inspiring industry to be part of.

The most challenging part of being a designer is maintaining your creative stamina. But that challenge also makes it exciting for me. I always want to see how I can push myself further. I want to know if I can keep my creative stamina in the coming years. I want to keep on designing and creating until I'm not able to.

The members of Plus63. L-R, top to bottom: Apol Sta. Maria, Jo Malinis (who we also interviewed here!), Dang Sering and Dan Matutina, Anton Romero, Miguel De Dios, Rhea Alarcon, Raxenne Maniquiz, Craig Halili, and Berns de Leon-Yumul.

Tell us a bit about how Plus63 began. What is the ethos of the studio, and how did the Hydra Design Group (of which Plus63 is part) come about?

The studio started 10 years ago. It was just me, Bern de Leon-Yumul, and Rhea Alarcon. We started back in Katipunan, right across Ateneo and then moved to Karrivin (in Makati City) together with the rest of the Hydra Design Group.

The studio is not defined by a singular  style, aesthetic or trend. While every member designer and illustrator has their own personal style, the studio is defined more by the aim of trying to come up with the most thoughtful and creative (hopefully!) solution to every brief we work on.

We always challenge ourselves and the companies we work with: Is the work enough? Can we still do better? What else can we do to make it better?

Now also part of Hydra, a multi-headed design group, it sprung from a desire for fierce collaboration. Each studio in the group is still independent in character and principle, but connected by the belief that more heads are better than one.

Hydra is comprised of The Acid House, Inksurge, KM Interior Design, and Plus63.

Plus63, illustrated by Craig Halili. Image from Plus63's Instagram page.

Lastly, congratulations on Plus63's 10th anniversary! What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2021?

Thank you! It’s been hard for everyone, so I’m really hoping that independent businesses and creative companies survive the pandemic. I hope in the remaining months of 2021, we’ll be able to bounce back from the challenges and struggles that all independent businesses are experiencing.

Shake Shack in Alabang Town Center opens soon! Meanwhile, the Greenbelt branch is open daily from 10AM to 7PM. Curbside pick-up and delivery via courier is available, too — just call them at (02)-7933-6724. Follow @shakeshackph on Instagram for more details and updates.

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