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For some, home is their place of origin, the place where they were born. For others, home is about here and now, the place where they currently live. For me, home has a little to do with both. With this in mind, I’ve been thinking and remembering different materials and elements that make a Filipino home.
The historical and geographical origin of traditional Philippine houses make them so interesting. Philippine architectural design goes all the way back to pre-colonial times, even before the era of Spanish rule in the country. I have always been fascinated with the richness of Philippine design; so much in fact that I did a research paper about it in college. I recall visiting old houses and purchasing some coffee table books on the topic. I think Philippine design is very adaptable, it can be blended beautifully with different motifs.
Personally, I love using the capiz shell as material for interiors. In the older architectural days, capiz was mainly used for windows and wall dividers but today capiz is also used in home décor and for accessories too. I would love to try using capiz as a kitchen back splash, but I can already see how much that will cost!
I’m not very fond of the traditional period style furniture but there are a couple of iconic Filipino furniture that I would love to use as accent pieces. They would look utterly gorgeous when mixed with other modern or even Scandinavian design. The butaka, an iconic Filipino chair from the colonial period is a beautiful piece of design that will go with most types of interiors.
I also love the antique aparadors which are storage cabinets that can come in various sizes. Most of them are made from solid wood like Narra and are beautiful accent pieces in themselves.
Another thing Filipinos can be proud of would be the hand-woven fabric made of natural hemp locally know as abaca. The more elaborate and gorgeous patterns are called T’nalak which are woven by women in South Cotobato– I’ve used these for throw pillows and table runners but you can imagine how easy it is to come up with other creative ways to showcase these fabrics.
Today we have so many talented Filipino designers winning awards in various design competitions with pieces that are now highly sought after. One of them who I am very much fond of is my former boss, Ito Kish. (I worked in his store KISH during its earliest days) . I am hopelessly in love with his The Gregoria Lounge which won at the A’ Design Award & Competition. It also placed Silver for Best Design for Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design in Como, Italy.
Another well- known contemporary designer is Kenneth Cobonpue who has also won numerous awards, I personally love The Bloom Easy Chair because it tells so much of my personality.. feminine, artsy and classic. This design won the Coup d’ Cour at the Maison et Objet in Paris in Sept 2009
The fun thing about Philippine Design and furniture from traditional to the current modern pieces of award winning designers, is that they can go well as accents with any type of interior motif. The rich diversity of available natural resources coupled with the talent of the Filipino is what makes Philippine design iconic and versatile. In this way, bringing the feel of the Philippines back to your home doesn’t have to be difficult. For many Pinoys who have decided to move abroad, this is just some inspiration to bring back some Pinoy elements in your home wherever it may be.
What do you think, would you like to own a timeless Filipino furniture piece?
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