Philux Spaces has collaborated with Louis Vuitton on its latest and largest store in the Philippines located in the brand-new luxury wing of Ayala Malls Makati, Greenbelt 3.
In creating a uniquely Filipino design story for Louis Vuitton, Philux designers and co-managing directors Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez and Jessica Kienle Maxwell curated furniture, accessories, artwork, rugs, decorative lighting, and installations that celebrate the country’s rich and colorful cultural heritage. “This has certainly been an exciting and fulfilling cross-cultural collaboration with the Louis Vuitton teams in Paris and Hong Kong, and we are honored to be a part of it,” says Maxwell.
We asked the Philux designers about this unique collaboration and the talented artists whose work provides the perfect setting for Louis Vuitton’s lively and luxurious fashion pieces.
Creating Conscious Luxury, Crafted Locally
What started out in 1980 as a mom-and-pop endeavor consisting of only two carpenters has since grown
into a dynamic and robust team of almost two hundred craftsmen and specialists. Philux, a proudly Filipino
furniture manufacturer and retailer, has expanded its collections, opened seven showrooms across Metro
Manila, and created Philux Spaces, its interior design arm. “Our vision is to execute ideas and create inspiring
spaces that evoke both a sense of home and reverie and reflect the stories and personalities of our discerning
Following over 40 years in the business, it has remained committed to its vision of telling the Filipino story
through living spaces, inspiring a mindful way of life, and nurturing a profound love for pieces produced by
Filipino hands. And as it continues to source from nature and be inspired by its beauty, Philux also remains
steadfast in its commitment to sustainability by producing consciously and consuming responsibly.
BluPrint: How does this LV experience encourage visitors to adopt a more natural way of engaging with the brand?
Philux: The Philux Spaces team is honored to have had the experience of collaborating with the Louis Vuitton teams in Paris and Hong Kong on the interior design of their new Manila flagship. This opportunity allows visitors to naturally engage not only with Philux’s brand and its work, but also with those of fellow Filipino artists and artisans. Individuals are now able to experience our pieces for themselves, in this luxurious and innovative space that has purposefully integrated the heritage of both Louis Vuitton and the Philippines. As they go about their shopping experience, they can come across locally crafted furniture, accessories, and artwork, and appreciate the vast design talent and skilled workmanship our country has to offer.
BluPrint: How did the production process of the collaboration promote creative and conscious consumption and the use of natural materials?
Philux: For the Louis Vuitton Manila flagship, we intended to feature locally and consciously crafted pieces that not only took inspiration from our country’s cultural and natural elements but did so responsibly.
With that, Philux designed and produced furniture pieces using sustainably sourced wood by the manner of certification, as we do with all of our furniture. Other than wood, we also incorporated natural materials including raffia and saguran (textiles made from the fiber of local leaves) into the ceiling installation we conceptualized and built in-house.
Furthermore, we sourced from artisans and collaborated with artists who share the same principles. The lighting installation in the women’s leather goods area, for example, showcases bamboo teardrop lamps made by local craftsmen. ‘Fields of Color (Circular),’ the artwork by Olivia d’Abovvile inspired by natural landscapes, is made of pleated abaca fabric handwoven in Cebu. ‘Hibla- 02,’ the artwork by Bea Valdes created with cord, rope and tapestry, showcases conscious craft and is a beautiful embodiment of women working side-by-side, weaving one thread at a time. The rugs, inspired by local tribal tattoo patterns, hand-carved rice terraces, and naturally rich tones of the tropics, were designed and handmade by Iñigo Elizalde Rugs, a proud member of the GoodWeave organization (which works through its certification program to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in South Asia).
BluPrint: How does this collaboration serve to emphasize the connection and harmony that is possible between luxury brands and integrating Filipino design into it?
Philux: We hope that this direct collaboration between Philux Spaces, our brand’s interior design arm, and the Louis Vuitton teams in Paris and Hong Kong serves as a testament to the fact that multi-cultural and cross-continental design collaborations can result in spaces that not only elevate the local presence of the luxury brand but also embrace our country’s rich and colorful cultural heritage. In having a curation of locally designed and crafted furniture, accessories, artwork, rugs, decorative lighting, and installations that celebrate the Filipino design sensibility in this space, the pieces present themselves as truly world-class.
BluPrint: What are your recommendations as one of the anchors in the industry to designers who want to create beauty and quality elevating Filipino design?
Philux: We believe that by incorporating natural materials and local design elements into our pieces, championing our people and practice by employing a Filipino workforce and manufacturing locally, as well as not only sourcing from nature and taking inspiration from its beauty but also remaining committed to producing and consuming responsibly, as many other Filipinos designers and manufacturers have done and continue to do, we can create beautiful and quality pieces that not only elevate Filipino design, but also celebrate and respect the people, heritage and natural beauty of the country.
A Woven Heritage
The design inspiration for the store is the woven heritage of the Philippines, spread across 7,107 islands –
each thread a metaphor of the Philippines’ intrinsically and poetically diverse history, culture, spirituality,
environment, community, talents, and aspirations. This local motif is exquisitely elaborated through design elements that are reminiscent of the Filipino habi, or traditional weave-making. The ceiling installation, conceptualized and built by Philux, consists of panels made of raffia and saguran (textile made from the fiber of local leaves).
The lighting installation in the women’s leather goods area showcases bamboo teardrop lamps made by local craftsmen. The sliding doors in the VIC lounge are reminiscent of capiz windows often found in traditional Filipino homes.
The Philippines is home to world-class artists, four of whom Philux Spaces selected to create works that speak to the store’s local design story. Each artist brought their unique interpretations of the ‘woven heritage’ concept to life in their craft. “We view each piece as a poetic tribute to the enduring beauty of the Philippines – its
history, its culture, its people – and it has been a privilege to work with these brilliant artists,” says Gonzales.
Bea & Marga Valdes
Designers Bea and Marga Valdes, who are known for their contemporary collections of bags, jewelry, and home décor, have long been fascinated with Filipino craftsmanship. Coming from a family with a history in fine jewelry, the Valdes sisters are globally renowned for an inspired use of natural materials, and an infusion of local artistry and aesthetics into world-class luxe items. They maintain their focus on traditional embroidery and continue to support artisans and their craftsmanship.
For Louis Vuitton Manila, the artists created ‘Hibla- 02’ with cord, rope and tapestry. An ode to Philippine Textile arts – “it is an exploration of indigenous motifs, re-examined through a play of scale. Made through many hands, these fibers express hybrid heritage, and the accumulation of craft and culture.” (Valdes)
Iñigo Elizalde Rugs
Inigo Elizalde was born in the Philippines, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design, and currently lives and works in New York City. Elizalde’s work is eclectic and highly conceptual, and his inspirations range from travel and architecture to geographical formations and his Filipino roots.
For Louis Vuitton Manila, the artist created rug designs inspired by all things Filipino: “from the complex tribal tattoo patterns found in the Southern part of the Philippines to the majestic hand-carved rice terraces in the North, to the sparkling reflection of sunlight bouncing off the abundant tropical waters in the country’s central regions.” (Elizalde)
Olivia D’Aboville is a young French-Filipino artist who graduated with honors from Duperré, a prestigious Textile Design school in Paris, where she specialized in tapestry and textile structures and adapted the techniques to create her own woven forms. She is now widely known for her textile manipulation of handwoven Filipino textiles, with works ranging from textile jewelry to sculptures, lighting designs and installation art. She is very sensitive to light, fluidity, and movement, and tries to raise awareness of the importance of preserving the biodiversity of our seas.
For Louis Vuitton Manila, the artist created ‘Fields of Color (Circular).’ For this piece, she “pleated 12 meters of abaca polyester fabric handwoven from Cebu” and was “inspired by landscapes [from her] travels.” (d’Aboville)
Monica Delgado was born in the Philippines and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in Painting from the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Cum Laude in 2003, and has completed two residencies in the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Delgado works with acrylic paint with a sculptural approach – creating multidimensional explorations of the physicality of paint that trick the viewer into thinking the medium is fabric, canvas, paper, or plastic. She is currently represented by San Francisco’s Maybaum Gallery, and lives and works in New York City.
For Louis Vuitton Manila, the artist created ‘Bliss’ with “strips of acrylic paint that were individually squeezed, dried, and layered. It was inspired by the mesmerizing ocean waters and sensational sunset the Philippines has to offer.” (Delgado)
Visit Philux on Instagram for more about this unique brand’s design story.