Proudly Filipino Masterpieces You Should See At Paris Furniture Expo

Paris Furniture Expo, Manila FAME

Much has been said about local artisans weaving and sculpting their way into the international home and lifestyle furniture market. From the wood carvers of Paete, to the weavers of Surigao, the Philippines is brimming with talented craftsmen waiting for the right opportunity for them to showcase their masterpieces to a keen audience. Many avenues are given for them to exhibit their craft, but few are the ones that can help them make a tremendous impact on the industry, as Maison and Objet in Paris, a bi-annual event in Paris, France that brings together the world’s best collection of lamps, chairs, and decor. So below, in no particular order, is our compilation of the eclectic and impressive pieces that will take the centerstage at Maison and Objet Paris, expertly made by artisans from all over the country, all which are included in The Capsule Collective, the Philippines’ collection of the finest home and lifestyle pieces.

Fruit Basket

The wood carvers of Paete, Laguna are well known to be excellent in this centuries old craft. By combining their creativity with the aesthetics of nature, they make sure that the natural properties of wood such as its color, and texture are maintained. At the same time, well perfected techniques are employed to maintain the quality of these pieces. Basket and Weaves has been continuing this tradition and this year, they are adding their signature pendants and lamps to their impressive catalogue. Over the years, Basket and Weaves has perfected the art of woodcarving, concentrating mostly on mahogany and mango wood. These pieces are made as traditionally as they can get. Mango wood are cut into blocks, before being carved by the local artisans of Laguna. They are then boiled, treated and dyed to further accentuate the qualities of the material. Each and every piece is carved with utmost care and excellent craftsmanship, ensuring top notch quality and assortment to their clients.

Mats and carpets
Abaca Carpet by WEAVEMANILA, INC.

Albay is not famous only for the perfect-cone volcano, Mt. Mayon, but also as the place where the most sturdy of natural fibers is most abundant--the abaca. Because of its texture, abaca is the perfect material for rugs and mats. The stringent process raw abaca undergoes before they are woven contributes to the soft and luxurious texture of these handmade mats and carpets. Centuries old techniques, combined with ingenious designs contributed to WEAVEMANILA’s unique carpets that have a luxurious feeling that is comfortable to the skin. Abaca is also known to be fire resistant, making it perfect for homes and offices.  WEAVEMANILA’s abaca carpets and mats arose from the collaboration of the artisans and a team of researchers who pool their ideas together to create unique and comfortable carpets. Their best pieces have been passed down from one generation to another, and have been updated to keep up with the times by combining and experimenting with new techniques.


High fashion has always been about the materials, and the execution, employed when creating a piece. A smooth hand stitch, or precise weaving of  raw materials is the benchmark of the perfect luxury bag, making them sought after commodities in the fashion market. Although leather is the perennial favorite among bag aficionados and collectors alike, expertly handwoven bags are a rare, and indulgent gem that are still coveted.  Tali Handmade’s handwoven bags are made not only to astound its international market by introducing indigenous materials, but also to tell a story of how women empower other women by giving them a means of livelihood, especially during the most trying of times in their lives. Each and every handbag in its collection was made with the help of the female inmates of a city jail in the Philippines. After they serve their time, Tali Handmade is also the first set of arms that welcome these ladies back to the society by employing them to bring original designs to life. What started out as a simple livelihood project turned into a brand that embodies the true meaning of social entrepreneurship aiming to improve the lives of women.

Candelabra by Chanalli

The true mark of outstanding artisanship lies in the small details: the execution, and precision of the hands that created them. In the case of woodcarving, it is determined by the smoothness of the final product and the way the raw materials were handled. Chanalli’s craftsmen understood this benchmark. Which is why no matter the angle you look at every piece, the handcrafted wooden products seem flawless. Each and every piece of Chanali showcases Filipino ethnic and tribal art, combined with a mixture of colonial and Asian influences. Their  carved candle holders---the Candelabra-- architectural details, heads and hands, busts, mannequin, reproduction statues/ icons and decorative pieces, furniture and garden decor are definitely a sight to see, as they signify the ingenuity and creativity of Filipino artisans.

Home furniture
Largo by Finali

The Filipino house has grown from being the roof that brings together society’s basic unit, into a home that binds modern jet setting families into a strong entity. It has grown from being a place of comfort after a day of hardwork, into a gallery of memories, adventures and treasures that will transcend time and age. The ever evolving definition of home was the inspiration behind Largo, which upgraded traditional pieces and gave them a new face to fit the ever changing lifestyle and tastes of the present-day homeowner. It combines traditional materials such as rattan, with modern techniques and designs to reflect the fusion of both the traditional Filipino home life, and the fast changing lives of the people who live in it.

Eccentric lighting
Beehive Lamps by CDO Handmade Paper Crafts

Nothing is more satisfying for a homeowner than to feel right at home in his abode. It will be blissful if s/he can feast his/her eyes on the unique pieces that provide the home character and style through well lit fixtures. CDO Handmade Paper Crafts has engineered its handmade paper into sturdy, functional items ranging from acrylic photo frames, utility baskets and more. CDO Handmade maximizes the sustainability and abundance of raw materials such as abaca, and bamboo to create eccentric pieces that is pleasing to the eyes. It uses abaca fiber sourced from the Higaonon tribe in Misamis Oriental. These are cooked and and beaten to produce 80% of the leatherized handmade paper. The unique Beehive Lamps by CDO handmade Paper Crafts was inspired by sea anemones. They used bamboo skin sourced from rural farmers. These are then cleaned and made into the frame of their lamps. It adds sophistication and brightness (quite literally) to a home by illuminating the homeowner into embracing his/her own uniqueness by creating pieces right out of their wildest imagination.

Native baskets
Ori-Min by L’Auras Y Levi, Inc.

One of the major reasons why furnitures and decors is one of the top exports of the Philippines is the unparalleled creativity and ingenuity local designers and craftsmen possess. The craftsmen at L’Auras Y Levi, Inc. demonstrates the endless potential of nito in creating beautiful, yet functional, home accents and furniture. Nito is abundant in certain unmined parts of the country, making it a popular raw material for baskets, placemats, and box containers. The baskets and home accents are put to life by the indigenous people from native tribes by meticulously and carefully weaving them.

Table Accents
Coral Brain Bowl by TADECO

From being a major exporter of bananas in Asia, TADECO has expanded into a handicraft manufacturing business. Their trading with banana has helped TADECO become well acquainted with natural fibers, later on serving as a boost as it ventured to handwoven t’nalak fabric. The handweaving industry led by TADECO started out as a livelihood program for the women and youth in some parts of Mindanao, to help them find an alternative source of income. Through the creativity and craftsmanship of the seasoned Tboli artisans of Mindanao, they have turned the distinct features of the t’nalak fabric into contemporary home accents, such as cushions, lighting pieces and stationery. It has slowly turned into a trade that has become one of the many signature products of Davao City.

The Capsule Collective is not only an exhibit of the country’s finest materials and export goods. Moreover, it is a story of men and women who seek a new beginning in their lives, and a safer, more sustainable source of livelihood for their families. At the Maison and Objet, these items will serve as proof that artisanship in the Philippines is more than an art, but a communal endeavor aiming to enrich the lives of local men and women, and the families they take care of.

See these fascinating artisanal pieces and more at the Philippine Pavilion of Maison & Objet Paris on 7-11 September at Stand Number A58-B57, Hall 6, Parc des Expositions, Paris Nord Villepinte, France. This participation was made possible by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), in partnership with the Foreign Trade Services Corps., Philippine Trade Investment Promotions Center, and various business support organizations and partners.

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