For many years, Cebu has proven itself as a global leader in setting trends in furniture design. Through the use of indigenous materials and biomorphic forms to create sleek contemporary pieces, Cebuano designers have successfully combined local craftsmanship, cultural heritage, and modern design sensibilities to come up with the next big thing.
What’s the next big thing in furniture design? Going local and global!
For the past couple of years, revisiting ancestral roots and taking inspiration from other cultures have been part of forecasts for both fashion and interior design. However, I think it was only last year when this has been more evident in mainstream furniture and textile design.
CebuNext 2011 featured designs that were developed by returning to the “roots”, with culture, history and nature being the main sources of design inspiration. Here are some of the possible trends to watch out for:
1) SUPERSIZING NATURE
Detalia Aurora’s Shellf and Gaia table
Kenneth Cobonpue’s hedge-like Harry rocking stool
2) HANDMADE & HOMEGROWN
Atelier’s high-back barrel chair with solihiya weaving & hanging candle holder in wood and abaca rope
Kenneth Cobonpue’s Little People Screen (top image) : handmade using salago fiber on hand-bowed metal
3) GREEN FURNITURE, LITERALLY.
Kenneth Cobonpue’s planters
Nature’s legacy’s planters and planter-stool
4) NOSTALGIA MANIA
Vito Selma, in spite of being in Italy, LOOKed back to his Philippine roots and came up with these interesting pieces: Jasmine table (a play on Philippine’s national flower, Sampaguita) and Pinas nesting table, a collaboration with Spanish designer Maijo Moll with the Philippine map etched onto the table top.
Vito also won Best Booth!
Some of the featured designers of the Kagikan project (a separate post on them tomorrow) re-interpreted traditional/period style furniture forms and indigenous motifs to come up with new yet very familiar designs.
5) ALL BRANCHED OUT
For some reason, the tree form/branch pattern has been a recurring element in many of the booths. We’ll probably be seeing more of this in different applications this year.
Tags: cebu, cebunext, furniture, i saw design
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Next week, we’re going back to Cebu to visit this year’s CebuNext furniture show! Like Manila Now, CebuNext will also center on the theme of sustainable design. Because their last year’s exhibit already showcased the materials and processes that make Cebu a leader in creating sustainable designs, they are shifting their focus on another side of green design–cultural roots and influences as motivations for creating designs that have a strong regard for the environment, the people, and the society.
With the theme ’crossing cultures’, CebuNext will include a feature on five Filipino designers who are based abroad. The exhibit is an examination of how the influence of global ethnicities has developed the Cebuano’s design identity, conveying how an exploration of one’s roots from within the Philippines and throughout the world would bring fresh perspectives and an uncommon design point of view. (Source)
Here’s a preview of the pieces from featured designers Danielle Latorre Cruz, Martha Cech, Wataru Sakuma, Stanley Ruiz, and Jinggoy Buensuceso:
Aside from the exhibit, we’re also excited for our first vacation of the year! We finally decided to free up our last day and enjoy the beach in Mactan! df
*images via cebunext
Tags: cebu, cebunext, furniture, i saw design
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Seriously, I envy these design students from Cebu. One, they got the opportunity to be mentored by some of the top furniture companies in the country. Thanks to the Student Internship Program (SIP) of the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation Inc. (CFIF), organizer of the annual CebuNext Furniture Exhibition, 26 students from the University of the Philippines Visayas Cebu College (UPVCC) Industrial Design program and the University of San Carlos (USC) Interior Design program were paired with Cebu’s best furniture designers/manufacturers in coming up with a design for their own individual furniture prototypes. From 26 participating students, a total of 31 furniture pieces and accessories were produced.
[Furniture prototypes designed by the students of UPVCC]
Second, apart from being mentored, the students’ partner company also sponsored the actual fabrication of their designs. Wow! In my alma mater (UP Diliman), we also had a furniture design course. However, we were set in groups and were supposed to fund the production of our own chair prototype. :( I was telling the Cebuano students that they’re very lucky to have such program set up for them.
[Furniture prototypes designed by the students of USC]
Third, which I think is the most important part of the whole program, the students got to show off their work in a really big event! Local and foreign guests of CebuNext got to appreciate their designs. It’s not surprising that some of the guests might even be interested in purchasing their work. Ana and I especially love the Expanding Bookshelves by Jurisse Gerzon (UP) and B Chair by Merchin Paul Belarmino (USC). Which of these is your favorite?
For larger images and details about the furniture pieces and the student, visit df’s flickr photostream here. For more information on the participating schools, visit UPVCC Industrial Design’s site here and USC’s site here.
Tags: cebu, cebu furniture, cebunext, cfif, furniture, furniture design, student internship program, university of san carlos, up visayas cebu college
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I was impressed that Cebu’s furniture industry is actively developing materials, processes and designs that are sustainable. Most of their furniture pieces and accessories now rely on the use of indigenous materials. Because indigenous materials like buri, rattan, abaca, and coconut shells are locally available, more abundant, easily harvested and processed with less energy, they are much more sustainable than wood.
[Photo above, from left: Mantid Bench in rattan, leather and metal from Obra Cebuana. Sunny Day Cocktail Table in rattan, leather & metal from Obra Cebuana. Palwa Occasional Chair in palwa (cocnut fronds) & rattan from APY Cane. Floor lamps and pendant lamps in curled/bent rattan & metal from Accessoria Inc.]
Now, Cebu designers are already exploring the use of forest wastes such as twigs and branches as materials for furniture production. Two examples are Kenneth Cobonpue’s Kris Kros screen (also used for the interiors of Z Bar, to be featured later this week) that uses small bamboo twigs on metal frame, and Naturescast’s furniture and accessories (above) that use cast pulp made of recycled paper and forest wastes (branches and leaves).
[Photo above, from left: Loom Floor Lamp using recycled foil textile (for the shade) from Hacienda Crafts Company. Chaise Lounge in rattan, steel & reused textiles from Pacific Traders. Floor & Table Lamps using camera film on metal frame from Detalia Aurora.]
The industry is also looking into developing recycled materials for furniture and accessories. Hacienda Crafts Company is making woven textiles using shredded foil wrappers and bags of potato chips and other snacks. Such fabrics can be used for lighting (above) and accessories .
These efforts do not only make Cebu’s furniture industry a model of a green and sustainable industry, but they also contribute in making their designs stand out internationally. This just proves that it is possible to be green without sacrificing on beauty and quality.
Tags: accessoria, cebu furniture, cebunext, conscious living, detalia aurora, furniture, green, green design, green products, hacienda crafts, indigenous materials, kenneth cobonpue, naturecast, obra cebuana, pacific traders, philippine design
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Based on our visit to CebuNext, I’m guessing that we’re in for a “romantic” decade.
Romantic, in the case of art and design, would refer to the predominance of human or natural qualities (emotions, impulse, organic movement, whim) as oppose to logical/mathematical/linear qualities (sorry for using big words!). If you go visit other design and decorating blogs and websites, you’ll find out that this appears to be an up-and-coming trend. A lot of people seem to have a renewed interest in everything that’s vintage/granny chic (especially the floral and lacey ones), everything handmade (the growing popularity of Etsy is good example), everything organic (biomorphic and sinuous forms), and everything antique/period style (but with an added contemporary twist, like a punch of bright color).
I have to credit Kenneth Cobonpue for somehow bringing up the term to my attention. He’s one of the first designers that we got to talk to during our visit to the exhibit. When I asked him about the concept behind his latest designs, he said, “I wanted to introduce the element of romance into my designs. For my latest pieces, I turned to handmade textiles like knits, crochet, and macramé for inspiration.”
The reference to traditional crafts and reinterpreting their intricate handmade details for his furniture defined the romantic aspect of his latest designs. “It’s like a comeback from the past decades’ minimalism,” Kenneth added. Adopting crochet, knit, and macramé details resulted to pieces with a softer and more casual look. Moreover, their fine details make you want to feel the texture of the pieces. I especially like the Little People Collection with little human figures that make up the form, and this white side table (above) whose patterns resemble a gathered crochet stitch. (Know more about Kenneth Cobonpue in a separate feature next week)
The use of sinuous, growing, and free flowing forms is another recurring feature that we saw among the displays. Clayton Tugonon’s designs for Classical Geometry feature these characteristics. His furniture’s free flowing linear patterns echo the organic form seen in nature. The emotive element of his designs is further emphasized by the design for the booth. Newspaper pages cover the walls and floor. A thin wash topped with drips of white paint finish off the graphic surfaces.
Nature and world cultures are also the inspirations for the designs of Accessoria and Detalia Aurora. Sisters Vikki and Paula Rodriguez are the young designers behind a number of the brands’ latest pieces. Stylized interpretations of stones, nautilus shell, and tree sections are supported by their use of indigenous materials and traditional craftsmanship, showing off detailed surfaces in a clean silhouette.
The nostalgic effect of finding inspiration in history and reviving period style pieces is also parallel with the romantic idea. Companies such as Pacific Traders, Mehitabel, and Obra Cebuana take this direction, reinterpreting period style pieces by adopting a more edited form to make them more relevant to contemporary aesthetics.
Obra Cebuana, however, took it to the next level, retaining popular furniture silhouettes but redesigned the rest of the components.
Designer Vito Selma capitalized on his creative impulse and whimsical ideas to come up with partially quirky designs. The exaggerated proportions and unfinished surfaces of his take on the Louis XVI commode (below, right photo) and the atypical design of his Nine Kiddie Chairs bookcase (below, left photo) clearly demonstrate his adventurous design approach. (Know more about Vito Selma in a separate feature next week)
Tags: cebu, cebunext, clayton tugonon, enpekei, furniture, hive, kenneth cobonpue, philppine designs
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Ana and I just got back yesterday morning from our weekend in Cebu. It was tiring but every minute was well worth it. While we’re still working on the photos and the articles, we’ll give you first a preview of our trip. Too bad Lilli Beth and Green Guide were not able to join us because of work and their theses.
Our two-day trip started with a very early 4:15am flight to the Cebu. Good thing our hotel had vacant rooms and checked us in immediately when we arrived. We were still able to grab a good three hours of sleep before we hit the furniture show.
Day 1, Friday, was spent going around the CebuNext Furniture Show at the Waterfront Hotel. We ooohed and aaahed over the impressive furnishings from Cebu’s top furniture and lighting companies. We even got to meet some famous designers like Kenneth Cobonpue, Vito Selma and Clayton Tugonon. Talk about being star struck! Read all about our feature on the CebuNext show tomorrow.
We spent Friday night with two friends, photographer Ian Santos and architect Chito Basit, who both happened to be in Cebu as well. After dinner in Ayala Terraces (which very much resembles Greenbelt 3) we went to the highly recommended Z Bar at The Tinder Box along Archbishop Reyes Ave. in Banilad. The bar’s interiors were designed by Kenneth Cobonpue. To call it beautiful or interesting would be an understatement. Again, special thanks to Ian and Chito for being our photographer and “sponsors” that night, hehe!
Day 2 started early with a cab drive to Mactan Island to visit BE Resort (formerly known as Microtel, Mactan). Maybe because of her lack of sleep, Ana almost forgot her camera! Along the way, we got a glimpse of Sharngri-la Mactan’s lush driveway and uber private Abaca Boutique Resort’s gated front.
It was like a breath of fresh air when we finally arrived at the white, bright, and colorful place of BE Resort. Unfortunately our tight schedule only allowed us to stay around two hours to shoot a couple of the resort’s areas.
In the afternoon, we made a quick visit to Kenneth Cobonpue’s inspiring showroom. We almost missed the place because we were looking for a showroom with a ”Cobonpue” or a “Hive” signage. We didn’t expect that the site was actually an unassuming place which also includes the designer’s workshop/factory.
Our last stop, but definitely not the least, was the house of Ted Gonzales, uncle of Zina, a good friend of mine from UP Interior Design. His passion for architecture, interior design and art produced a lovely place which he and his parents call home.
This week is not enough to feature everything about our trip. So, we will be dedicating the next two weeks for all the design goodness that we have encountered in Cebu starting tomorrow with our feature on the 2010 CebuNext Furniture Show.
Tags: ayala terraces, aziza bar, cebu, cebunext, furniture, furniture store, green, green design, green products, hive, interior design, kenneth cobonpue, mesa restaurant, ted gonzales, z bar
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It’s March already! This means Ana and I are off to Cebu soon!
Last October, we got a preview of CebuNext over at Manila FAME. We were so impressed by their furniture displays that we wanted to see more. So this weekend, we’ll be flying to Cebu to attend the exhibit. We know that we’re in for loads of design treats!
In the past, Cebu has been the leader in furniture trends:
In the 60′s, the Cebu furniture industry popularized rattan furniture. Its casual and comfortable appeal was so widespread that no American home was without it. When rattan resources struggled in the 70′s (due to the extremely high demand), we stepped in and introduced buri, sourced from the most stately and largest of the Philippine palm trees. Buri’s unique tensile strength made it quite a sought-after material for furniture, and was most often seen in the ubiquitous piece of the period, the woven peacock chair.
In the 80′s, stonecraft, also known as laminated stone, took center stage, while woven cane & iron furnishings took over in the 90′s. In 1997, Cebu revamped the image of one of the oldest exports from the Philippines, abaca, by using it to interpret modern lines and processes. Combining the indigenous abaca with contemporary designs and technology made abaca hip again, giving a fresh, eco-conscious look to every room that had abaca furniture in it.
Such success prepared the world for the outdoor woven furniture trend that also started in Cebu in the year 2000. Since then, Cebu designers and manufacturers have been producing and shipping the most relaxing and most stylish outdoor furniture to top-end destinations all over the world, including trendy boutique hotels, exclusive vacation resorts, and the private homes of the rich and famous.
Key to the success of Cebu’s furniture design and manufacturing industry is their sustainable approach:
Cebu’s furniture designers and manufacturers have been using sustainable materials and methods long before “eco-friendly” and “going green” became buzzwords. from have been the R & D cornerstone of many Cebu-based furniture companies, while nature’s castaways are now being incorporated into contemporary designs.
Naturescast by Nature’s Legacy Home and Garden is at the forefront of such efforts. They use forest wastes such as twigs and leaves in the creation of chairs, vases and other furniture items and décor. They prove that sustainability is an achievable ideal. It can be done.
Other Cebu furniture players participate in the sustainability drive as well, though not all efforts are visible in the furniture pieces themselves. One example is the continued use of traditional, handcrafting methods which reduce potential carbon emissions and the consumption of fossil fuels. Responsible manufacturing processes such as recycling waste water or using water-based finishes are on the list, as are identifying renewable sources of local materials, and the development of technologies and procedures to produce furniture and furnishings that are globally competitive. Tree-planting initiatives by the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF) round out the sustainability drive on an industry-wide level.
Sustainability, Return To Handcraftsmanship, and Individual Design are the three focus areas of CEBUNEXT. Sustainability is the heart of CEBUNEXT, which presents the concept to the world as a necessity, not a novelty, in hopes that world-wide sustainability efforts are not just trends but permanent fixtures that manufacturers, retailers and consumers can begin to take seriously and permanently – as unconscious fixtures in day to day functions as opposed to a conscious effort to ride a trend and profit from it.
Apart from CebuNext, we’ll be visiting a couple of interesting sites in the city. Watch out for our special Cebu features next week!
*Photos and texts via CebuNext
Tags: cebu, cebunext, exhibit, furniture, green design, interior design, sustainable design
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During the Manila FAME show, Cebu’s CebuNext (formerly CebuX) exhibit had a special setting composed of around eight exhibitors, if I remember correctly. Special thanks to CFIF’s Mischelle Ogdoc for being very accommodating, introducing the team to their designers and exhibitors.
CebuNext was impressive! Their collection of furniture and décor are nothing but world-class. No wonder many of their members are suppliers for many top-of-the-line furniture brands abroad. Their designs are fresh and innovative, combining sleek modern forms with the rich texture of natural indigenous materials, maintaining that Filipino signature in their designs.
Among the exhibitors, here are our favorites:
Accessoria with its appealing mix of indigenous materials.
Nature seemed to be the inspiration for the organic designs of the lamps from Okiberry.
Colorful outdoor furniture, that also come in a smaller scale for kids, are carried by Lauralee.
Sleek and swanky pieces from young designer, Vito Selma, fuse together strong geometric figures with bold colors and natural materials.
His pieces are now available in Manila through Kish in LRI Plaza.
For those of you who want to see more of Cebu’s finest designs, CebuNext will have their tradeshow in Cebu early next year, March 5-8, 2010.
Tags: accessoria, cebunext, furniture, lauralee, okiberry, vito selma
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