From Paper to Practice: Dive Deep into Design HQ’s Internship Program

From Paper to Practice: Dive Deep into Design HQ’s Internship Program

By Macon Davila and Eunice Galat (Design HQ Internship Managers)

With the pandemic coming into recession, the design industry is surely gaining momentum with a new batch of creatives being able to experience face to face learning again, and get to participate in the actual practice. As an interior design student, this is the perfect time to land an internship which allows each one to contribute their ideas and learn from seasoned professionals.

An interior design internship lets a student step beyond your drafting tables– collaborating on real projects and gaining exposure to industry standards.

Design Hirayama + Quesada believes that training is paramount, and our internship program is geared towards providing the students with an overview of the skills and knowledge they need to excel in the industry. Being able to manage the firm’s internship program provided us an avenue to foster a nurturing environment where aspiring designers can thrive.

The firm understands that talent comes from diverse backgrounds. We recognize the unique strengths each student brings to the table, encouraging a collaborative learning environment where everyone can learn from each other. This is the reason why the Design HQ team actively invests in creating an inclusive program that welcomes interns from a variety of universities.

More recently, we had the opportunity to work with student interns from the following universities: University of the Philippines-Diliman, University of Sto. Tomas, De La Salle College of St. Benilde, University of San Carlos Cebu, University of the East-Caloocan, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology – Manila, MAPUA University, Philippine Women’s University, Batangas State University, Assumption College San Lorenzo, Philippine School of Interior Design, Miriam College, and Enderun Colleges.

More than the application of technical skills and providing creative challenges from our different projects, the program also highlights the following experiences:

Mentorship Matters: A design mentor is assigned to each of the interns wherein each intern works through a major conceptual design project, offering insights and feedback that would help polish the interns’ ideas.

Practice & Present: More than the process of design creation, Design HQ believes that being able to communicate is as equally important as ensuring that the right design details have been provided. Aside from participating in office meetings and ad-hoc meetings, each intern presents their learnings and their proposed major conceptual design project to the entire team. 

Beyond the Classroom Walls: Through fieldwork opportunities, interns can see design principles in action. Suppliers and site visits are beneficial as these connect us with the materials and environments that bring our design concepts to life. 

To further elevate the internship experience, the Design HQ internship team, together with our design principals, launched the very first Internship Awards last 2022 where we recognized interns who excelled in the Conceptual Design Project given to them. The output and efforts of the top three interns per award category are then shared through our social media platforms, highlighting their out-of-the-box design ideas.

For the 2023 Internship Awards, we added the Internship Manager’s Award which is presented to the top three most promising interns at Design HQ for the year cycle. More than the technical & design skills, it aims to recognize their outstanding performance, positive attitude, meticulous attention to detail, and collaborative spirit.

Through this platform, we aim to amplify the recognition of our former interns while cultivating a culture of excellence and continuous learning, inspiring the next batch of design interns who will be part of shaping the future of the industry.

Here is a recap of the internship awards for the past two years. 


From reading the applicants’ cover letters, conducting interviews, getting to know each intern as they get accepted into the program, and having them collaborate with the team on various projects, it is a rewarding feeling seeing our interns develop in a short amount of time.  As Internship Managers, more than the fulfillment of developing the program, it is also gratifying to witness our interns excel and showcase their work in a span of 100 to 400 hours of being with the firm.

Through the interns’ final presentations to the team, we get a glimpse of their perspective as they move through their internship. Seeing our interns get to know the designer in them better and discover what the industry is all about outside the four corners of the classroom, adds depth and significance to our experience as Internship Managers. It is always a full-circle moment for us to see young designers navigate through their growth and work their way towards professional development.