For designer Ito Kish, the presence of foreign objects in local interiors reflects an open door. Guests would find in such space a link to other countries and the richness of their cultures.
At the Kish store in Bel-Air, Makati, the new summer collection has a travel theme replete with tidbits from Asia, Africa and Europe; location-specific objects are displayed in cozy settings.
The new collection focuses on decorative objects popular with international interior designers. A resin turtle figurine from China adds a layer of warmth in a vignette. World globes from America bring out the inner traveler. An architectural element such as a wooden obelisk with a resin medallion from India can show off a reflection or make a masculine statement on a desk.
If an antique blue-and-white porcelain jar from China is too pricey, Kish has an affordable version, a porcelain jar made in India. The jar is also in blue-and-white, and, coupled with celadon ceramic jars from Thailand, lends an antique air to a decor scheme.
Then there are ceramic containers with faces from African tribes, Greek mythology and European aristocrats. Designs of elongated philodendron on these jars add panache.
Normally associated with the outdoors, a Japanese lantern becomes an inspiration for a desk lamp or a pendant lighting fixture created by a designer from Taipei.
For novelty, the wall clock from Taipei glows in the dark.
Books as design elements
Kish also introduces new books from London exclusive to his store. “Books are an integral part of interior design,” he says. “They not only give life to a space but they also reflect the owner’s personality. Nowadays, you can have 20 books in your tablet. But nothing beats the look and feel of hardbound copies on the table.”
Books can easily update a look. Stacked according to color, they make a chic composition, especially when paired with a sentimental object. They create interesting patterns when stacked horizontally on top of each other or vertically with cute objects as book ends. When leaned at an angle, they create a visual rhythm on the shelf.
Kish’s titles capture the zeitgeist. “Natural Foods Kitchen” and “Mindful Eating” reflect health consciousness while “Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks” emphasizes the recycling approach to today’s decor. The range also includes books for brides, entertaining house guests, and cooking.
Bed linens, another decor essential, have also been introduced. Duvets, pillowcases, flat and fitted sheets have been sourced from Lithuania and stamped with Kish’s monogram. The colors come in basic white, beige, light brown and mint conducive to sleep.
On decor trends, Kish observes that the international trade fairs have been focusing on heritage and elaborate carving. He says heritage plays a role in his collection at the Maison Objet in Singapore. The designs are inspired by his family, friends and objects from the Philippines.
Kish’s award-winning and most featured design, the Gregoria Chair made of balusters, is updated in sophisticated black. This lounge chair is an homage to his mother, Gregoria, a public school teacher.
His Raedes collection, consisting of black tables and consoles with Romblon marble, is named after his uncle.
B Luxe chair, which won the Katha Award for Best Product Design in Furniture at the Manila FAME last year, is a modernized version of the batibot. Using brass and copper with an acrylic seat, the batibot chair has been elevated from a kitchen or outdoor furniture into a statement piece. The back is exaggerated to give more support to the seater.
The Josephine, derived from the butaka or plantation lounge chair, has wider arms with stingray trim. It is named after designer Josefina “Josie” Natori, a consultant for Manila FAME.
The Rosaria lamp, with its candelabra base and t’nalak shade, is dedicated to Rosvi Gaetos, executive director of the Center for International Trade and Exposition Missions (Citem), which has put the Philippines back on the world design map.
Kish says that, in international trade shows, he presents furniture and accessories highlighting Filipino craftsmanship and materials.
Meanwhile, he brings the world to his 405-sq m shop. Kish Design, with its licensed interior designers, offers services. Among his recent projects are Anvaya Cove, jeweler Janina Dizon-Hoschka’s store and TV host Kris Aquino’s condominium unit in Rockwell.
His pieces are also sold in Australia, Singapore, Dubai and the United States.
“You have to keep evolving,” he says. “The baby boomers are lying low. The millennials have a different mindset.”