Manila FAME’s magnificent seven

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MANILA, Philippines — At the recent Manila FAME event, the mood was certainly upbeat. The exhibit halls were packed with suppliers from all over the country and there was a good turn-out of local and foreign buyers.

Philippine manufacturers deserve to be lauded for their efforts as their strong showing brings them closer to the unified goal of making Manila Asia’s design center.

Here are seven standouts:

1. Vito Selma

Vito Selma’s Delilah rocking chair. Photo from Metro Home & Entertaining magazine

Cebu wonder-kid Vito Selma continues to ride the wave of international popularity with his unique line of modern furniture. The young style-maker retools a universal classic, and brings forth the Delilah rocking chair. The proportions are more generous, the lines more fluid. Selma’s latest oeuvre is a cocoon of calm and serenity.


2. Ito Kish

Ito Kish’s Gregoria chair. Photo from Metro Home & Entertaining magazine

Ito Kish’s debut as a furniture designer and as an exhibitor at the recent Manila FAME started off on a high note, as the first timer garnered top prizes for product and booth design. He dazzled foreign and local buyers with his Balustre collection, an alluring modern take on a traditional Filipino design element. The award-winning Gregoria chair (named after his mother) will also be part of the Design Origins exhibit at the Yuchengco Museum.


3. Ling Quisumbing Ramilo

Ling Quisumbing Ramilo’s Tatay chair (left) and Eyeglass chandelier. Photo from Metro Home & Entertaining magazine

Prolific artist, Ling Quisumbing Ramilo was invited to exhibit functional art pieces during the fair. Ramilo’s engaging works display both depth and humor. The Eyeglass chandelier is made of discarded lenses, its shape resembling an eyeball. The Tatay chair is a sculptural marvel, executed creditably with references to traditional and modern design styles. The chair’s basic structure takes its inspiration from construction site scaffoldings and the skeletal frame of the bahay kubo. The strong geometrics and defined outlines are reminiscent of the art deco period; the over-all form evokes Frank Gehry’s deconstructivist sensibilities.

4. Prizmic & Brill

Prizmic & Brill trunks. Photo from Metro Home & Entertaining magazine

Prizmic & Brill has made a name with its signature campaign style furnishings and home articles. The company has supplied high end hotels and resorts around the world, and distributes its products in upscale retail stores. These trunks are excellent, sturdy storage cases, as well as handsome decorative accents for the home.

5. Industria

Industria’s Garro chair (left) and Oyster lamp. Photo from Metro Home & Entertaining magazine

Eric Paras and Jude Tiotuico are the principal designers behind steel furnishings and accessories export company, Industria. The design duo’s daring experimentations yielded some surprisingly scrumptious new products. The Garro chair charms with its brusque look; slim dimensions and undulating lines give the Oyster lamp a more delicate appeal.

6. S.C. Vizcarra

S.C. Vizcarra bag. Photo from Metro Home & Entertaining magazine

S.C. Vizcarra’s strong bags line draws on the traditional and familiar, but these objects are given ingenious tweaks for a fresh, modern vibe. The Pez clutch is a sculptural wonder, its structure conforming to the body’s contours; the tie-dye patterns on this adorable wicker handbag are woven in.

7. Miguel Aguas

Miguel Aguas’ bird cages. Photo from Metro Home & Entertaining magazine

Glass and metal designer, Miguel Aguas produces gorgeous metal products, all hand-worked out of his Pampanga factory. The Manila FAME stalwart manufactures ornamental lights, table top wares and wall accent pieces. The adorable bird cages (which can also be used as planters, or simply as decorative items) conjures images of fairy-tale gardens and storybook settings, capturing the hearts of local and foreign buyers alike.

(The author is the senior associate editor of Metro Home & Entertaining magazine.)

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