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May 17, 2016
By Jian DeLeon
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is in full swing in New York City. Showcasing the latest high-end luxury furniture from around the globe, one of the more interesting highlights is Design Philippines, which brings five Filipino furniture designers to the arena. Two are regulars—the award-winning Kenneth Cobonpue and Schema, while three are exhibiting for the first time: Venzon Lighting, LIJA By That One Piece, and ZARATE MANILA.
Today is the final day of ICFF, and it’s also the fair’s “public day,” meaning anyone not in the industry can attend and see these great labels firsthand. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect at each booth.
Born in Cebu, Philippines, Cobonpue is a lauded industrial designer known for mixing natural materials, innovative production, and furniture that harkens back to traditional Filipino woven furniture. Of course, instead of wicker, Cobonpue utilises powder-coated steel frames that emulate the handiwork without diluting the artisan appeal. In addition to the handsome Savant Easy Chair, which is handmade from polyethylene, steel and beech wood, Cobonpue’s Chiquia Stools utilize a clever foam bed beneath smooth, vertical rattan poles, making them surprisingly comfortable.
Specialising in indigenous materials, Lija By That One Piece crafts eye-catching lighting that doubles as a means to preserve traditional textile making. Some of the fabrics used in items like the Criss Mini were originally meant for blankets, but have been re-purposed and re-contextualised into modern geometric shapes. Other lights like the Jiya and Jiya Deux (pictured above) utilise materials like twine for objects that play on symmetry and the line between nature and interior design.
Zarate Manila makes its overseas debut at ICFF New York. The lighting installation, designed by 22-year-old Jim Torres, shows off the Escapade, which is made of intricately shredded stainless steel, and is inspired by the notion of an exotic garden.
Venzon Lighting is the Philippines’ leading custom lighting manufacturer. The design team is led by Cris Venzon, and the showroom in factory is based in the Philippine province of Pampanga, a region more known for its culinary expertise than furniture design, but clearly Venzon’s steel twig Savannah Pendant lights (pictured above) and beautifully intricate Cherry Blossom Linear Pendant Light—which uses natural capiz shell petals on a steel frame—are making a strong case.
The craft behind Schema’s wonderfully woven metal furniture lies in the hands of the talented artisans who do it all manually. Of note is the A Cote Suspension Lamp (pictured below), designed by Segolene Aebi-Faye and handsomely minimal chairs from the mind of legendary Filipino designer Budji Layug.
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