Milo Naval and Sacha Cotture: Art, furniture make organic impact

Materials from nature, clean lines and a soothing, neutral palette
/ 05:03 AM October 03, 2018

The undulating strokes in Sacha Cotture’s abstract calligraphy soften the linear designs of Naval. —EARVIN PERIAS

Interior designer Bambi Mañosa with architect-artist Sacha Cotture

A decade ago, furniture designer Milo Naval was tapped by a home magazine to furnish and style the Courtyard House of Swiss architect Sacha Cotture.

When Naval went around the house, he felt an affinity to Cotture’s aesthetics. It was built with local organic materials, fine wooden poles for exterior walls and natural stone for accent walls. The colors were basic, whites and grays, and the lines were simple and clean, similar to Naval’s furniture.


Cotture has since included “painter” in his resumé. After learning Chinese painting,
he developed his own style—
making intense and impulsive strokes, or splashing the paint and letting it drip.

For texture, he uses a walis tambo instead of paintbrush. Many of his works apply the wet-on-wet method—a watercolor technique in which another layer of wet paint is applied on wet paint. The colors spread into one another, resulting in melding tones and soft edges. He favors salt water to wet the Chinese ink for texture.


Impressed with Cotture’s artworks, Naval displays them to complement his furniture collections at the OMO showroom at LRI Design Plaza in Makati.

Focus to space

In design projects, Naval uses art sparingly to maintain the calmness of his signature neutral color scheme. Meanwhile, the scale and the stark simplicity of Cotture’s Chinese black ink on white paper make an impact.

“They bring focus to the space,” said Naval.

Cotture, noting similarities with Naval’s artistic style, remarked: “We both have a taste for the organic. My architecture and paintings are close to what Milo does—using simple, natural materials and putting them together dynamically.”

Naval and Cotture draw inspiration from their environment. Naval works with fallen trees, rattan, bamboo, pili nut shells and other materials sourced from his adopted province, Sorsogon.

Milo Naval beside his rain lamp made from rattan strips

Cotture’s themes are about hills, mountains and the water. “Everything I do reflects movement,” he said.


He works in the open courtyard at home because the ink dries quickly under the sun. “I have to paint outside even if we live in a country with terrible monsoons,” he pointed out. “If there is risk of getting wet, I will not start an artwork that requires brushes. I’ll splash the ink or let loose on the paper. If I work indoors, I have to wait for hours for the paint to dry, then I’m stuck. I need to keep producing.”

Cotture’s large-format paintings complement the generous proportions of Naval’s sofas and tables. The artworks’ lack of color harmonizes with Naval’s palette of neutrals, whites, beige, gray and a touch of black. The fluid movements of the paintings offset the no-nonsense straight lines of Naval’s furniture.

Naval said displaying artworks in his furniture showroom aims to show people how correctly-sized work can make a powerful statement, or a welcome addition to a space. —CONTRIBUTED

Kristina Ponce Enrile is flanked by Simon Pigott and her son-in-law Moulay Rhounimi.

The main setting features Naval’s modular sofa with laminated bamboo legs, a dao table with stainless steel base and rain lamps. Cotture’s painting in the background features wet-on-wet technique. —PHOTOS BY EARVIN PERIAS

Cotture’s acrylic artwork is displayed behind Naval’s rattan opium bed and solid wood carved side table.

The scale of Cotture’s painting echoes the proportions of Naval’s dao table with stainless steel base. Cotture’s painting applies the wet-on-wet technique using Chinese ink and no brush.

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TAGS: Furniture, Lifestyle-Home and Entertaining, Milo Naval, Sacha Cotture
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