I received an invitation to attend the Philippines International Furniture Show and was delighted. Held last March 14- 17, I immediately marked this on my calendar as it is where the most established and internationally recognized designers and manufacturers show what Filipino design is all about.
The creative use of local materials are skilfully designed into award – winning products and these are mostly manufactured in the key regions of Cebu, Pampanga and Manila. PIFS has united these regions and their supporting associations to bring Filipino craftsmanship to the global market. “We have top-notch designers, working with proven manufacturers, producing quality product at the right price.” says the chairman of the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines, Duke Zuluaga,
The Manila FAME was simultaneously running at the same time at the top floor of SMX Convention. Organized by the Philippine Department of Trade and CITEM, Manila Fame is held twice a year. It features Filipino craftsmanship in home decor, fashion and arts and crafts.
The show was grand in every way with numerous foreigners buying and admiring the Filipino talent! It was awesome to see all these people who appeared to be designers, architects, property developers and professional buyers purchasing for specialty stores!
Allow me to share with you a couple of my favorite booths and products:
Kenneth Cobonpue has added a whimsical touch to his booth this year with Circus Cobonpue. Kenneth has numerous awards to his name such as Top Pick Award for innovation from the American Society of Interior Designers for his Cabaret sofa in 2012 and an award for his Bloom Easy chair at the Maison et Objet in Paris last 2009. “I just want my fantasies to run wild. If I didn’t become a designer, I would have done stage design and I think a circus is a place where fantasy comes alive.” explains Mr. Cobonpue.
Vito Selma is another young designer that has made a name for himself. He grew up in Cebu and studied in the University of Arts Academy in San Francisco, California. He earned his master’s degree in Industrial Design at the Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan, Italy. I love the simple yet brilliant work of Selma through his flowing use of wood and kawayan. He show cased his Peacock/Reina chair in this show which was a stunning statement piece.
It is always nice to bump into Ito Kish as he was my very first boss! I worked for him in the year 2000 at his retail shop in Glorietta, Makati. I loved the booth of Ito Kish and his talent and love for visual merchandising was highlighted as he won the best booth at this years PIFS. He truly makes every Filipino proud as he earned a silver for Best Product Design for Furniture at Italy’s A’ Design Award & Competition 2013 for his Gregoria lounge. The Gwangju Design Biennale 2013 in South Korea also showcased his Gregoria chair.
The playful and vibrant pieces of Kirsten International Inc. owned by Eric Vincent from Cebu caught my attention. A lot of their furniture was designed by Bernardo Urbina, who grew up in Costa Rica and studied Industrial Design in the Pratt Institute.
Other pieces I admired were from Designs Ligna. The console table was designed by my friend Ana Rocha, while the sculptural coffee table with brass sheet was breath taking!
I was attracted to the pretty display of Costa del Sul who specialize in recycled wooden furniture with hand painted details.
The use of local materials by BRA made their chairs special.
The Philippine International Furniture Show was a great success. The show’s creative director, Anton J Mendoza presented a world- class show for the well deserving Filipino talent. With over 10,000 registered guests, the show inspired us to take pride in our Philippine heritage.