Ito Kish, in a new location, remains boldly eclectic | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

WHEN DESIGN consultant-entrepreneur Margarito “Ito” Kish saw the “For Rent” sign across his then shop, he immediately grabbed the opportunity. That’s how the former Budji Living on Nicanor Garcia St., Bel-Air 2, Makati, has metamorphosed into the new 450-sq m Kish store, the biggest in its owner’s retailing career.

Although it was an ambitious move, Kish’s attractive window displays have been luring many walk-in customers. The store offers a signature collection inspired by mid-century modern, neoclassical, Asian and organic furniture in American white oak, along with Cebuano designer Vito Selma’s forward-looking designs, Asian pieces, Kish’s own designs and accessories sourced globally.

The pieces range from antique religious icons and Bohol retablos to current objects featured in foreign magazines. Kish says the botanical print series was used in an advertorial for a UK store. A floral metal mirror frame was part of a setting in the cover of House & Garden UK edition, while a laminate cuckoo clock was in the inside page, and a cream, bowl-shaped Danish lamp was included in Milk magazine.

One of his conversation pieces is a 1920s Maranao boat which hangs from the ceiling hovering over Vietnamese stone jars and juxtaposed with mirrors with a sunburst frame.

Defying rules

The eclectic mix expresses the Filipino penchant for combining seemingly disparate elements.

“The Kish style has always been about defying rules,” says Kish. “You can mix and match everything and make it look like it’s not art-directed. We try to get pieces that can cross over in any of the decor styles. When we select, the piece is as beautiful as it is, yet it blends with other elements.

A streamlined Italian sofa bed is placed alongside a textured resin side table-cum-stool from Pampanga. Modern powder-coated metal chairs are juxtaposed with wood veneer tables.

Kish takes pride in being the sole local distributor of Selma’s collection. The Cebuano designer’s works are characterized by a three-dimensional network of grids that create sinuous forms. Selma uses local materials such as coconut, pinewood, bamboo and arurog in complex executions. His works are always used as strong accent piece in a linear, modern setting.

Ultimately, the Kish sensibility is about having fun while putting things together.

“Many homemakers collect objects over the years. We impart the idea to never be afraid to mix things up because it shows who you are. Don’t just stick to a matching look.”


Here are Kish’s tips when going modern eclectic:

Color-blocking is the trend in decor. Add a bold-colored accessory as accent piece in black-and-white or neutral color scheme.

Adhere to neutrals such as browns and beiges to unite all the elements together. Objects with beautiful designs won’t be overwhelmed by the many colors.

A medley of surface treatments and textures establish an eclectic look. Kish combines an arurog woven sofa and indigenous lamps to contrast a leather-and-chrome chair. However, all the elements are united by their curvaceous shapes.

Classic decor is safe and can be boring if all the pieces match. Offset the look with modern pieces such as unusual mirror frames, modern lamps and clocks. It can also be reversed. Mix traditional lamps and antiques in a modern setting.

Displaying unique elements adds appeal to the eclectic look. Keep proportion in mind when composing them.

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