Quantcast
Latest Stories

I didn’t want to be just known as ‘the egg girl’–Lilianna Manahan

By

“THE SNOOT,” an animal of undetermined friendly species

Funktion. Nothing could better describe Lilianna Manahan’s new collection for her “exhibit of useful things.”  But to define what she does, what material she prefers and what design philosophy she subscribes to would be putting unfair expectations on someone whose imaginings know no fences.

“THE SNOOT”

Her first exhibit in 2010, “Omelette,” of a dozen intricately painted ostrich eggs, had curious invitees to the exhibit marveling at the craftsmanship of the finely detailed narratives painted on each egg, sometimes embellished with gilded mouldings of 24-karat gold leaf.

With a lively mix of influences, from Byzantine backdrops to Dr. Seuss-like illustrations, dainty florals and ridiculous musings (like little men climbing up giant nose hairs), Manahan’s setup aroused even more curiosity. Perching them on pedestals with mirrors reflecting the painted backsides of the eggs, she nested them on faux grass, and hidden in the foliage were tiny plastic green soldiers with rifles aimed at the giant, elaborately tainted eggs.

The exhibit was a sell-out, with after-exhibit orders coming in for custom-made eggs. “But I didn’t want to be just known as ‘the egg girl.’” So she stopped taking orders and moved on to other material.

“FOLD Stool,” a play on geometrics, and “Stump Stool”

In early 2012, as one of Hive’s designers introduced by Kenneth Cobonpue, Manahan created the lighting fixture “Float,” a complete departure from the whimsical nature of the eggs, undoubtedly minimal by far in its austere mushroom-like shape, in ash wood veneer.

The floor lamp, with its tabletop version, featured downward lighting. With the upward light obscured by the opaqueness of the flat-top veneer, the downward light highlighted the Portobello mushroom-like shape of the lamp, which in the dark seemed to float, thus giving the lamp its name.

BRASS chicken bookends

While working in Cobonpue’s atelier, she designed a dog bed which was exhibited at the Paris trade fair, Maison et Objet, in 2009. Shaped like a giant slipper (“a lola’s corcho,” she specifies) with bands of flat outdoor plastic fibers and a leather-upholstered “mattress,” it was inspired by a combination of Frank Gehry’s forms and her two Lhasa Apso puppies that constantly chewed on everyone’s slippers.

Interplay

The items Manahan presents for “Funktion” bridge her sense of flight and groundedness: While the shapes and functions still reflect her deep delight in playfulness, her use of material and the execution of the pieces display a new kind of responsibility she endows her items with.  For example, in her use of tweaked geometric patterns of the Inabel weaves that clad her Escher-like stools, there is a conscious interplay of form and design.

LILIANNA Manahan

Her vanity stand is a sentimental tribute to her grandfather’s original brass mirror stand, but by executing it in traditional marquetry technique with a checkerboard motif, heritage, inheritance and tradition take on a kind of quirky modernity.

“I’ve always had a fixation with different kinds of animals, from prehistoric animals to make-believe ones. I used to make up my own animals while doodling in class, and I guess these doodles created a language for my own set of animals which automatically come out when I start brainstorming for products.”

Perhaps from this thought sprang the idea of upholstered animals that move. Not quite carousel animals, nor stuffed fluffy ones, but sleek buffed-down remakes in leather and fabric that possibly ride like car seats.

Obviously a bookworm from childhood, Manahan considers bookends a necessity, having grown up surrounded by various types, from Venetian blackamoors and singeries (i.e. monkeys dressed in clothes) and Corinthian capitals made of escayola, to a modern Alessi book receptacle in fiberglass.

Again, Manahan’s penchant for crossing over styles and influences is seen in her brass bookends. From afar, they could be mistaken for some ancient animal god from Mesopotamia or Babylon. In truth, they are heavy brass-cast chickens perched on a block of local marble.

As this goes to press, we leave Lilianna Manahan tweaking yet more surprise pieces for the exhibit “Funktion: An Exhibit of Useful Things,” opening on Nov. 8 at “the premiere curio shop,” AC+632 in Greenbelt 5. Curiosity-driven, fueled by a landscape of exposure to all sorts of arts and literature, Manahan has gone from fine arts and industrial design at Central Saint Martins in London, to finishing at the University of the Philippines, working in Kenneth Cobonpue’s atelier in Cebu, and occasionally dropping in at Escuela Taller de Intramuros to confer with professional craftsmen, spending time with local weavers in Ilocos and other craftsmen in Cebu, and surfing in between.

Manahan remains in constant transition for her art and craft, unbound by rules outside of aesthetic and function.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: art exhibit , Liliana Manahan



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  5. Almost mugged on Chino Roces Avenue
  6. Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  7. How healing waters accompanied my journey of faith
  8. ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  9. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  10. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  7. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  6. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  7. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  8. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  9. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Intrigues mar signing of Bangsamoro draft law
  • Singson apologizes for delay in Edsa road repairs
  • Congressmen seek end to small-town lottery operations
  • 16-year-old survives in wheel well of US flight
  • MMDA to blame for delay of Edsa reblocking – DPWH exec
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Business

  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
    Marketplace