2023 Hot New Things: Loura Limjoco, Wintec, Spatial Design
Each summer DA profiles a selection of the top design graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions. We welcome these talented emerging professionals to our industry, learn about their passions, final projects, developing creative confidence and ambitions for the future.
Today we speak with Loura Limjoco from Wintec. You can find out more about Aotearoa NZ creative study options by visiting our design schools page.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Kia ora! I’m Loura with an “o”, and I originally came from the Philippines and moved here to Aotearoa New Zealand back in 2013. I don’t look 27, but yes I am 27 years old lol. I have always been drawn to arts, design, photography, technology and architecture ever since I was a child. It was a solid dream for me, wanting to be in the creative industry. I took up Architecture in the Philippines but did not end up finishing due to complicated situations. 5 years ago, I gave up on my dream of being able to be in the creative building industry, so being able to work in the industry right now and finally finishing my Spatial Design degree is still surreal for me. It has always been where I wanted to be.
What did your graduating project focus on?
My capstone project focused on showcasing the sustainable knowledge which I have gained over the years and applying it to a project. My proposed output was to create a booklet and an A1 board that contains the research and development behind this project.
I have always been vocal about sustainability and I have been trying my best to apply sustainable solutions to most of my assessments ever since I became more aware of our environment’s situation when I took up ‘Eco Creative Practices’ when I was in 2nd year. So for my capstone project, that is what I wanted to showcase, to create a project that aligns with my ethos as a designer. However, my project didn’t solely focus on sustainability, it also focused on hospitality design – a field in the industry that I wanted to be in. So I have proposed to design a cafe that embodies a “farm to fork” logic that will serve as an ecological solution to the growing environmental problems that we are currently facing and will be facing in the future.
In the end, I was able to create a cafe with an indoor farm that produces crops that are to be used as an ingredient for the cafe’s food products. A cafe that not only promotes new ways of producing food in the same space but also lessens the emission of transporting ingredients/crops from one city to another. My capstone project is called “Mara Kai Cafe”, inspired by the traditional way of planting and growing your food or more known as “the food garden”. The concept combines technology and nature, to create a space that will not only uplift customers’ experience and reconnect them with nature, but also introduces new and sustainable ways of food production in urban cities.
Why did you choose to study at Wintec?
I choose to study at Wintec because it is close to home. But aside from that, I have always heard how hands-on Wintec is to their students as there are fewer students in Wintec compared to universities. I was amazed by how everyone knew each other in each department, it felt like a community to me and that is one of the biggest factors why I have chosen Wintec over the others.
What did you enjoy most about your course, or what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed it?
I enjoyed my elective classes the most! I mean, I love my design course no doubt, but having that freedom to explore other design/art-related electives was such a cool learning journey for me. I love how my elective tutors have been so supportive of me and would always make an effort of connecting or relating Spatial Design to whatever my elective was. All those learning and new unlocked skills outside my main design courses such as screen printing, surface pattern design and graphic fundamentals are skills that I will forever be thankful for, as those are skills that have helped me be a better designer version of myself.
Were there any exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your studies?
There are a lot of exciting and unexpected discoveries I have unfolded during my studies such as what kind or type of designer I was. It’s funny because when I started this degree, I thought I knew my design style. I was firm that I like industrial design, Scandinavian design and modern design but as I was progressing through my studies, my designs weren’t any of that. LOL. I have discovered that I can adapt to any design style and any theme but my design signature style would still be evident in it. Up to this time, I am still amazed at how people around me recognise my style and would tell me “that is so you”, without me realising it myself. Such a great discovery of what kind of designer I can be.
What was your biggest challenge while studying and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge while studying was being hard on myself all the time. I would always choose a difficult project, and I would always set my standards and goals too high because, at the end of every assessment, I like to see it well-crafted. It satisfies the designer in me. In the end, I would sacrifice my sleep, my social life and a lot of things, just so I can satisfy my standards. I would always come up with a lot of concepts/ideas and it would be hard for me to choose which path to go with. To be honest, I don’t know if I had overcome it, but during my last 2 semesters, I tried to slow down. I’ve learned how important taking a break is and learned how to trust my skills more than ever, as I can do things in a faster and more effective way now and it feels good, I feel like slowly but surely I am learning not to be so hard on myself anymore.
Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick Spatial Design as a career path?
I grew up surrounded by my Engineer cousins and I was like “yup, this is the industry that I wanted to be in”, I like arts, architecture and design in general. Being a Filipino, everyone expects you to be in a medical field, as a nurse or a doctor but it just wasn’t me, luckily I have a supportive whanau, who has always lifted me and recognised my talent for this career and has supported me throughout, they are my OG’s without their support I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I originally wanted to be an Architect, but after giving up, getting back up again and finding out about Spatial Design, I just know that it is more of the career path that I wanted – I like connecting people with spaces and seeing it come to life and I guess that is what led me to this career path.
Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?
The piece that I am proud of so far is my Capstone project because I’ve managed to create a physical booklet out of it that contains my learning journey, my research, and my development. It’s a piece that truly speaks for me as a designer and what my ethos is all about. It is also my first project where I was applying real-life industry processes and guidelines that I’ve learned from my job (shoutout to TableTalks!) in designing a hospitality space. Lots of learning through this project which is why I am really proud of it.
What’s next for you?
I guess I’ll continue being an “hospo-obsessed” designer because luckily, I have been welcomed by a great interior design studio in Hamilton, called TableTalks, to be part of their team. Yay! I plan on continuing my unending learning journey and improving my skills as a designer with them. I’m excited and really honoured at the same time.
How can people get in touch or see more of your work?