Christine Sicangco established Christine Sicangco Lighting
Designs, Inc. (CSLDI) in Bacolod in November 1994, it was
to put into practice her extensive experience in lighting
design. It was a tough decision - the concept was relatively
new in the country, and there were no local practitioners
she knew of who could be role models to relate and benchmark
with. With a complement of seven workers and four administrative
staff, Christine set up shop in a 170-square meter area on
the third floor of a family-owned building in San Juan Street,
handles architectural lighting design and consultancy and
specializes in the design and manufacture of various lighting
fixtures. The line consists of table lamps, wall sconces,
floor lamps, and pennants or hanging lamps. Various colors
of handmade paper are crafted to serve as shades and, when
combined with either ceramic, steel, wood, or stone lamp bases,
provide a unique lighting concept.
prescribes the appropriate intensity of light, and suggests
the most energy-efficient and aesthetic lighting design for
a given space or setting. She worked as a lighting designer
for New York-based lighting design companies, Horton-Lees
and Johnson Schwing Hammer.
such, Christine was able to put together a portfolio that
includes lighting designs for places like the Chase Manhattan
Bank, the National Geographic Society, and the BASF headquarters.
She has also done lighting designs for showrooms of famous
designers Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, J. Crew,
Barney's, and Jill Sanders.
a year, CSLDI had built a client base consisting of such establishments
as Nature's Village, the Bob's Restaurant chain, the Philippine
National Bank, and the Bacolod Bargain Square Mall. After
operating for more than a year, Christine began to set her
sights on markets abroad, but she did not know where to start.
Through the seminars she attended, she learned that exporting
meant producing in bigger volumes.
that time, CSLDI's monthly capacity ranged from 100 pieces
each of lighting fixtures and shades - not enough to export.
Through her sister, who manages a furniture company, Christine
learned about the MPEX program of the Department of Science
and Technology's Technology Application and Promotion Institute
(DOST-TAPI). The MPEX program provides consultants to companies
that need just a little push in order to get going in markets
consultants suggested a design for a 400-square meter factory
building specifying the materials to use, and prepared a floor
plan identifying the different sections. Furthermore, they
advised Christine to provide individual worktables for the
workers to minimize distractions, and incorporate finishing
operations within the factory to contain the spread of toxic
design for a spray booth was also prepared. The expenses she
incurred for the consultants' three-day stay with the company
- about P5,000 - was a pittance compared to the tremendous
impact of the P35,000 worth of government assistance extended
by TAPI. CSLDI moved into its new premises in 1997, a 700-square
meter building standing on a portion of a family-owned three-hectare
property in Sitio Bito, Barangay Estefania Villamonte in Bacolod
95 percent of the company's products are exported. The biggest
buyers are from France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland
and Belgium. The lampshades also reach such places as Abu
Dhabi, Bahrain, Beirut, Canada, the US, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore,
and Hong Kong. Sales figures from 1997 - the year when CSLDI
broke into the world market - doubled, from over P2.3 million
to P4.1 million in 1998.
Christine realizes that just as a company may experience birth
pains, its growth could also be uncertain. At the moment,
the company gets its handmade paper materials from only one
supplier in neighboring Iloilo province.
plans to produce her own handmade paper in the near future,
and has already attended a training program on handmade paper
making organized by the DOST provincial office.
is also exploring other materials to serve as lamp covers:
though she is researching into the potential of fiberglass,
her goal is to eventually use glass.