Singapore, 14 March 2014 - A select group of seven companies representing Design Philippines recently showcased Filipino creativity and craftsmanship in furniture in MAISON&OBJET Asia at the Marina Bay Sands Expo Convention Center. MAISON&OBJET Asia, the first Asian edition of the Paris-based MAISON&OBJET is regarded as one of the world’s most significant events for interior design and decoration providing a unique opportunity to gain an overview of the industry trends.
Leading the Philippine delegation was the world-renowned industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue who was awarded the first MAISON&OBJECT Asia ‘Designer of the Year’. Cobonpue known for his signature designs using Philippine indigenous materials such as rattan, bamboo and abaca, was selected from among top Asian designers who have made a strong impression in their field of design. As designer of the year, he will play the role of ambassador for MAISON&OBJET Asia. MAISON&OBJET Asia also recognized Filipino industrial designer Lilianna Manahan to be part of the “Rising Asian Talents”.
Photo shows MAISONETOBJET Asia Designer for the Year Kenneth Cobonpue (middle) and “Rising Asian Talent” industrial designer Lilianna Manahan (2nd from right). Also in photo are (from left) Design Philippines Creative Director Budji Layug, CITEM Executive Director Rosvi Gaetos and PTIC-Singapore Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda.
The other Design Philippines participants included Cebu Fil Veneer Corporation, Domicillo by Peter and Paul, Inc., Industria Home Vico Manufacturing Corporation, Ito Kish, Schema and P&B Valises et Compagnie Inc. which displayed their unique and finest works made of brass, ceramics, leather, metal wire and sheet, shell, solihiya cane, steel, tempered colored glass and wood. In the same event, Design Philippines pioneers Triboa Bay and Kalikasan Crafts had their independent booths.
According to Frederic Bougeard, Business Development Director of MAISON&OBJET Asia and Paris organizer Salons Francais et International (SAFI), "Maison without the Philippines is not a Maison".
“It is heartwarming and exciting to see how far Design Philippines has come since we launched it in Euroluce in April of 2013. The Philippine participation in MAISON&OBJET Asia aims to target the booming ASEAN market. The exhibit provided a seamless presentation that projected the Philippines as a reliable sourcing partner of designer products and services in Asia,” said Rosvi Gaetos, Executive Director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).
Design Philippines represented by MAISONETOBJET Asia Designer for the Year Kenneth Cobonpue (7th from left) together with Cebu Fil Veneer Corporation, Domicillo by Peter and Paul, Inc., Industria Home Vico Manufacturing Corporation, Ito Kish, Schema and P&B Valises et Compagnie Inc. Aside from Cobonpue, MAISON&OBJET Asia also recognized Filipino industrial designer Lilianna Manahan (8th from left) to be part of the “Rising Asian Talents”. Gracing the occasion were Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Minda Cruz (6th from left), Budji Layug, Rosvi Gaetos and Glenn Peñaranda.
Design Philippines is a branding initiative that positions the Philippines as a sourcing destination for finely crafted products for the world market. It is a design movement that nurtures and celebrates the creativity and originality of a globally competitive and passionate community of Filipino designers and craftsmen. As a movement, Design Philippines has taken shape and now speaks with recognized authority in the world of design.
The event also generated positive feedback from the visitors who were mostly hotel and resort designers, retail and mail order companies, department stores, art galleries, interior designers and decorators. “Before craftsmanship was looked down upon but now it is being celebrated. The artisanship and craftsmanship of Philippine products are impressive," according to a guest from the School of Interior Design Hongkong.
“The exhibit was a perfect avenue to introduce the legendary art and craft skills of Filipino manufacturers to the discerning market of Singapore and the region, showing visitors real masterpieces that challenged norms, experimented with materials and pushed boundaries. By networking and forging relationships between Philippine exhibitors and the buyers within the city and region, we hope to tap more opportunities that will spur growth of our local furniture industry, especially as we see exponential increase in home ownership and sophisticated home-fashion culture,” said Philippine ambassador to Singapore Minda Cruz.
The Philippine participation was spearheaded by CITEM, the export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and assisted by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC). The latter, an attached agency of the DTI, is responsible for building and enhancing trade relations and business between the Philippines and Singapore.
In 2013, woodcraft and furniture were two of the top 10 Philippine exports. In January 2014, export revenues from woodcraft and furniture reached $291.70 Million, up 1.3 percent versus the same period last year. The Philippine Exporters Confederation, the umbrella organization of export-oriented firms in the country, projects that the local furniture industry will grow by 10 percent in 2014, buoyed by strong demand from both local and export markets.