When designer-entrepreneur Ito Kish was starting his home store in 2000, he would fly to Chatuchak, Thailand’s largest public market, to source his merchandise. Likewise, other Filipino entrepreneurs would also buy home accessories for their stores.
“Nowadays, anybody can visit Chatuchak and fill up two pieces of luggage with trinkets,” Kish said. “You’ll find these items in Greenhills, Quiapo and the bazaars. If you want to survive in this business, you have to keep evolving. I travel to source original items.”
His instincts took him to Denmark and Scandinavia, where he could derive inspiration for the Kish store. Lately, his shop has been sporting a new look with bold wallpapers from Studio 11, a local distributor of designer brands, and its collection of Danish furniture and lamps.
According to New York Times, mid-century modern Scandinavian design has been in demand for several decades now. They are valued as works of art because designers from that area interpreted their aesthetic concepts into functional items.
Designers such as Alvar Alto and Arne Jacobson have applied the principles of Modernism in design and the use of materials and machinery. However, they have them to another level by softening the spare and rigid lines of Modernism with quiet curves and smooth surfaces.
Kish chose works by other Danish designers who followed the same school of thought imbibed by Alto and Jacobsen. Hans Wegner’s chairs, for
instance, pushed the limits in furniture tradition by producing futuristic designs of high quality.
Chairs by Erik Buch and Neils O’Moller are attractive for their sculptural framework. Most of the pieces were designed in 1960, using the teakwood before the Scandinavians turned to light, natural wood.
As an homage to tradition, a coffee table features a mosaic made from plates by the famous Royal Copenhagen.
Kish said the clean, timeless lines of Danish furniture complement well other styles. He added that Danish designs would be usually launched in June and July, slow months for retail, in order to perk up the market.
To freshen up the store, Kish has hung wallpapers in various themes such as aquatic, jungle palms, stripes and foliage. They have become sophisticated feature panels in the room.
Kish has also introduced elements for condominiums such as consoles of his design and inverted planters with their built-in “slo-flo” irrigation.
The store offers other mainstays such as Kish’s award-winning designs, which have earned a commendation from the “A” Design and Competition Awards in Como, Italy, for their modern take on traditional furniture.
The cane-backed Basilisa seater comes in geometric shapes. Inspired by the Cordillera basket, the Santa Maria outdoor stool is made of plastic and wood. The Basilisa and the Santa Maria were given honorable mention while the pen shell-laced Rodolfo console received a bronze award in Como.
“If you visit a Parisian apartment with all the neoclassic details,” said Kish, “you can put an Arne Jacobson and it will blend. Put Jacobson beside the Basilisa and Santa Maria stool and they will look beautiful together.”
Kish is at 233 N. Garcia St., Bel-Air II, Makati. Call 8968366; visit www.kish.ph.
Studio 11 Modern Fabrics is at MG Bldg., 150 Amorsolo St., Makati. Call 8941244 or 0917-5535288.
PHOTOS BY NELSON MATAWARAN