MANILA, Philippines – There is no doubt about it – Filipiniana decor is definitely beautiful. Heavy wood furniture, elaborate details, trimmings that come in valuable material – these are all common in vintage Filipino – the kind of furniture that was probably gifted to your grandparents on their wedding day and passed on to you by your parents. The best part is, old furniture and decor come with all kinds of personal stories, making them downright impossible to part with.
But how does one keep that priceless heirloom piece (or the entire ancestral home) without feeling like you’re living in an antique store or the set of a horror film?
Take your cue from a group of the Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID) graduates, whose “Neo-Archipelago” themed booth brings a distinct Filipino flair to a contemporary bathroom.
Use local patterns in an unexpected way
If you want to stick to the Filipiniana theme, the obvious method would be to dress up those wood furnishings with local weaves and tapestries. But to shake things up and make it more interesting, you can try replicating the patterns of the weaves in another way. In the case of the PSID group, they put a tribal pattern from Mindanao on the walls in 3D wood panels, making the pattern more contemporary and definitely more unique.
Adding greenery easily breathes life into a space and breaks down the darkness of the wood furnishings that are so prevalent in Filipiniana design. It also gives the space a more tropical feel which is in line with the Filipiniana theme.
Using a variety of materials adds visual interest to a space. Filipiniana furnishings, which typically come in heavy dark wood, look less old fashioned when matched with glass, stone, and capiz.
“The Philippines is rich in natural materials, for example, capiz. We have a capiz vanity, a capiz panel at the back of it. We have natural stones. We wanted to put in different textures of materials. So we have wood and stone,” PSID graduate Claudine Claudio, part of the group who designed the booth, said.
Go for gold
“The Philippines was rich in gold,” Claudine said, pointing out how adding gold touches to the space harks back to the luxurious lives of the elite of pre-colonial Philippines. Gold also adds a polished element, which makes for an interesting contrast to the raw feel of wood and stone.
Don’t limit yourself when it comes to accessories
Just because you’re decorating with a particular theme in mind doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to using accessories that only adhere to one look. With Filipiniana, for instance, not all accessories have to be locally made or authentic, as long as they have a Filipino feel. The PSID designers used light treatments that looked like baskets woven in the classic solihiya pattern.
“If the look is Filipino, it’s okay sana na use of materials na maybe not from here. Or if it’s from here, you make it a little modern, [that’s] not typically used in the Philippines,” Claudine said.
See the neo-archipelago bathroom and other designs at the PSID Batch 2017 exhibit, which will run from October 1 to 31 at Uptown Mall in BGC. Admission is free. – Rappler.com
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