After closing his eponymous showroom last year, style arbiter Ito Kish is back on the retail scene briefly for a pop-up store in the new wing of Rockwell Power Plant Mall.
Kish Stories showcases his knack for artfully combining seemingly disparate objects in a thematic setting—“Creating personal stories for the home,” he says.
The shop reflects Kish’s fine yet unique taste in merchandise, furniture and home accessories inspired by local culture, and his ability to mount eye-catching vignettes.
When Kish closed shop last year, the last container of merchandise had just arrived. Kish waited for this opportunity to showcase them.
The 36-square-meter pop-up store has mid-century Scandinavian furniture, design books and decorative objects from Asia and Europe. Shoppers are coming in droves.
German artist Anke Dreschel’s pillows, made of linen, velvet and raw silk, feature intricate gold appliqué needlework with floral patterns. The beaded throw pillows easily fetch P2,000 to P7,000, depending on the size and scale of the handwork.
Dreschel’s cuddly stuffed animals with embroidery and beads make unique gifts.
On his trips, Kish had such finds as a miso soup bowl from Kanazawa, patterned batik wooden stamp blocks (P2,900) from Bali, mini wooden animal stamp blocks (P500), wooden toothbrushes (P500) from Taiwan, and one-of-a-kind demitasse cups, once part of estate collections from Denmark.
Other finds include Pillvuyt French porcelain bowls, wooden bowls, serving spoons and forks from Thailand, and a 1930s tea set made in China (found in a Danish antique store).
The big-ticket items are the mid-century Scandinavian furniture, characterized by tapered legs, geometric forms and minimal orientation. Kish chose rosewood for its deep red tones, rich grain, silky texture and strength.
One of the prized pieces is a rosewood and teakwood accordion cabinet with pull drawers.
For Filipiniana, Kish’s designs are represented in his dinnerware, the Kristina Bukid Collection, adorned with sketches of bucolic country life.
His bone china vases, the Arellano Collection, took after the Art Deco façade of the Metropolitan Theater, designed by architect Juan Arellano.
Asked how he creates a story, Kish shows a foldable teak table with turned legs from Denmark. It is laden with Asian decorative items such as a Japanese vase, plates from India, metal and brass cones, a sculpture of Ganesh, the elephant god from Bali, and a woven fan from Taipei.
He creates visual interest by mixing textures and adding a leaf for organic touch.
Kish still does design consultancy. He is finishing a penthouse in Manhattan, once owned by actress Isabella Rossellini and which now belongs to a Filipino woman. He is set to work on her country home in Long Island.
He is also designing chairs for Malacañang state dinners.
There’s still a demand for his furniture online. Basilisa is known for geometric designs with latticework or solihiya. His Gregoria chair is unique for the backrest made of turned balusters. Sagrada is a mirror whose shape takes after the urna or altar.
The award-winning Binhi is a metal seat with woven rattan that resembles a seed.
Kish’s designs are distributed in the US, Australia and Singapore. He is also a creative consultant for Robinsons Department Store’s brand, Curated Home. It offers decorative objects from China like scented candles (P499) and throw pillows (P299-P399).
Kish enjoys life now that he is relieved from the pressure of store operations. He lost 20 lbs from weight training and is enjoying flexible time. “I don’t worry too much anymore,” he says. —CONTRIBUTED
Kish Stories, second level of the new wing of Rockwell Power Plant. The store will remain open until August.