Condominium units in Metro Manila are getting smaller—as in less than 25-sq m—but not necessarily cheaper. Majority of the new units in the main districts are studio and one-bedroom types.
Responding to this trend, designer-entrepreneur Ito Kish has put up F1rst, a store for the emerging market of first-time condo buyers.
F1rst adapts the Nordic design, with brands dominating Europe and also doing well in America. The design philosophy is based on producing elegant but practical furniture that is affordable to the mass market. Scandinavian furniture is admired for its functionality, soft and clean lines, understated elegance and affordability.
It evolved in the mid-20th century with the introduction of cheaper, manmade materials such as plastic, engineered wood and pressed steel, and advanced mass production.
Kish has acquired the exclusive distributorship of the Danish brand Sketch Furniture, known for its straightforward design style, fastidious fittings and interesting details.
The simplicity of the design emphasizes the craftsmanship.
The furniture corners are soft and slightly rounded. “These pieces are child-friendly,” says Kish.
The furniture proportion is scaled down to fit a compact condominium unit.
In the store, Kish points out how a sofa, a coffee table, a long cabinet, and a six-seat dining table could fit in a 15-sq m unit without looking cramped. Even armchairs come in narrower widths.
Unlike bulky furniture that poses a problem when being transported to condos, these furniture pieces are easily assembled. The prices range from P6,000 for a dining chair, to P68,000 for a sofa that doubles as daybed.
The wooden chairs follow the contours of the body, while the sofa is plumped up with fiber and feathers.
The initial collection is in quintessential Scandinavian colors of gray and blue with yellow accent furniture to add vibrancy.
As design solution, Kish suggests mango wood ladder shelves that provide storage without the bulkiness of chests and armoires, or a leather-strapped floating shelf.
Kish’s tips for first-time condo owners:
Know the specs and floor plan of your space. You can determine possible problems and design remedies.
When looking at furniture, always bring a tape measure. You might end up buying the wrong size that won’t fit your space.
Throw pillows and area rugs add a pop of color or pattern.
Personalize your space. Open shelves are not only space savers; they can also be used also to display travel mementos, family photographs, gifts from loved ones and collections. You can change the look of your displays.