As cities grow denser and lifestyles become more hectic, people are insulating themselves with creature comforts such as luxurious furniture and high-tech, energy-efficient appliances.
Focus Global Inc., the home-furnishing marketing company, has gathered all its brands’ showrooms in one location—Twenty-four Seven at McKinley in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
During the launch, brand principals commended Stephen and Lolita Sy for making their brands flourish in the Philippines.
Edmund Schorr, director of sales for Wolf ovens and cooktops, and Sub-Zero refrigerators, told Inquirer Lifestyle, “Filipinos love their kitchen. It’s the center of their home, where they cook and entertain. Not every culture in the market is like that.”
While the rest of the world is going for contemporary kitchen modules, the Philippines still favors traditional designs. “The Philippine market posts the highest percentage (30 percent) of classic kitchen styles—Beaux-Arts (neoclassical), framed doors, panels—sold to individuals,” said Matthias Weiss, export director of SieMatic, a German brand of kitchen systems.
The market’s laid-back taste is also reflected in its furniture choices. “The Philippine market may love Italian things but you are comfortable in wood, browns and quiet colors, ” said Paolo Ravelli, Asia sales manager, B&B Italia and Maxalto. “They like marble and prefer warm colors. Hence, the brown marble table. They feel white marble is too cold.”
Daniel Grow, senior vice president for business development, for the American furniture brand Ethan Allen, said, “The Philippine market has been very traditional, not overly modern like Europe where the furniture is simple. You won’t see a plaid wing chair in Germany, but you’ll see that at Ethan Allen.”
Meanwhile, Jim Tan, vice president of the Hunter Douglas Group, sought out Focus Global Inc. and made it the Philippine licensee of the brand.
Tan said today’s modern lifestyle calls for blinds instead of curtains because the former entails minimal window dressing and is more practical.
Principals cited trends that make the home more functional, comfortable and stylish.
Athmane Lakhlifi, director for export sales, Miele
“People want to insulate themselves from stress in a minimalist house with new technology. Premium kitchen is made with high-end natural materials such as wood and stone.
“The appliances will be simple with intuitive controls. Our new generation of appliances have end touch controls that will guide you through the menu even if you don’t know how to cook.
“The convenience in design allows you to make a cappuccino with a press of a button and use vacuum cleaners with suction power that adapts to the floor.”
Edmund Schorr, director of sales for Wolf and Sub-Zero
“The design community wants to show lines in the kitchen without the interruption of appliances. Instead, stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers will be seamlessly integrated or hidden in the cabinetry.
“On refrigeration, technology has been added to greatly improve efficiency yet reduce energy consumption. A 65-watt light bulb uses up more power than the biggest Sub-Zero refrigerator.
“Wolf has ‘domino’ units to mix and match your needs. You can customize your cooking module. The steam oven is another trend. They speed up cooking but the food is fresher and retains the vitamins. We bring that technology to the home.”
Matthias Weiss, export director, SieMatic
“The kitchen is where people have fun and the kitchen island becomes the center for a party.
“Modernity calls for handle-free modules with minimalist designs that focus on the purity of the material such as metal and untreated wood. Eye-catching details, such as metal fronts, serve as counterpoint.”
Paolo Ravelli, Asia sales manager, B&B Italia and Maxalto
“Furniture design is going back to ’50s luxury with elegant and expensive furniture. Materials are matte and warm, such as bronze and copper, unlike the polished silver of the ’90s.
“In bedrooms, people want the luxury of a six-star hotel room. The bed, wall and wardrobe closet are coordinated in the same color tone and finishing.
“The sets are coordinated by one designer, Rodolfo Dordoni. B&B Italia is avant-garde and colorful, designed for a younger market and made by various designers like Patricia Urquiola, Jean Marie Marceau and Naoto Fuzuma.”
Daniel Grow, senior vice president for business development, Ethan Allen
“People are looking for liveable luxury and quality craftsmanship. They want every room to be comfortable. We have our American classics. Our market keeps antiques and heirloom pieces and they combine them with these furniture.”
Paul Heldens, managing director, Dornbracht International
“One of the mega trends today is individuality and bespoke. Clients want perfection to the max like the sinks with seamless joinery and ultra-luxe touches such as gold taps.
“Our philosophy is based on proportion (all products have proportions that relate to the Golden Ratio), precision, progressiveness, personality, performance and perfect fit.”
Michel von Boch, scion of Villeroy & Boch
“People are spending more time in the bathroom as a place for relaxation hence these are getting bigger.
“Water closets are addressing energy consumption in the design of the flush and the size of the bathtub. Intelligent water closets have made daily ablutions more convenient with systems such as a built-in water jet and a drier. An air system absorbs odor so you don’t need to light up a scented candle.
“Our patented material Quaryl (made of quartz, acrylic and resin) makes our bathtubs scratch-proof and more elegant.
“There are now provisions for the old folk so they don’t slip, and for the disabled so they can easily slide from their wheelchairs.”
Jim Tan, vice president, Hunter Douglas Group
“Two generations from now, people will favor blinds over curtains. The new blinds are treated with antibacterial properties. You can tilt them to control the amount of light that enters. Blinds can be controlled by radiofrequency. You can even command the night or day mode using an iPhone app.”