Capitalizing on the Asian market’s penchant for status symbols, Ferdie Ong, president of multibrand furniture and accessories company Living Innovations has opened a new home decor showroom featuring three top luxury fashion brands. He has named it Sovrano (“sovereign” in Italian).
The 200-sq m space at Shangri-La at The Fort houses Armani/Casa, Bottega Veneta and Fendi Casa.
Sovrano targets consumers seeking a complete lifestyle experience, from home to fashion, said Ong. “These brands are key drivers for the Asian market. Fendi Casa is No. 1 in China in luxury furniture. It’s the most recognized fashion furniture brand. Armani/Casa has a major place in the Middle East and Europe.”
He chose Bottega Veneta following the success of its new design director, Daniel Lee, who transformed a stagnant brand into an “it” name. As in Lee’s fashion designs, the new furniture and accessories collection will be highly anticipated by brand followers.
The brands have been popular for their collaborations with prestigious manufacturers.
For Armani/Casa, the perfect fabric is essential in designing a distinct look and providing comfort. It has been working for 10 years now with the heritage Venetian textile and furnishing company, Rubelli.
The present collection features Japanese figurative art in the upholstery such as dragonflies and bamboo leaves on reeded silk, sword sheaths and geometric patterns zapped by bold strokes of green and red.
As in its fashion, Armani/Casa expresses the same minimalism and neutral colors, including the signature greige.
Ong says designer Giorgio Armani himself conceptualizes and manufactures the furniture according to his taste. The Italian icon doesn’t pander to market acceptability, he adds.
“Armani/Casa has a wide range of furniture,” says Ong. “We chose special finishes for the Asian market like gold which is preferred to chrome. Since Asian families are big, we got eight- to 10-seater dining tables. The people who buy these furniture are seniors. They want their seats and mattresses higher than the standard so they can easily stand up. The upholstered headboards can be customized for a big room.”
Catering to people who work in their bedrooms, Sovrano offers a leather table with leather-lined drawers and luxurious stitching for P1.4 million.
Ong points out that Sovrano is also targeting the gifts market. “We want to offer options for people who have everything,” he says. These are items people would display.
A five-inch-tall scented candle is P4,000; a drinking glass with the GA logo discreetly imprinted on the bottom is P4,000 a pop; and a six-piece set of 18-karat gold-rimmed china costs P60,000.
Armani/Casa has collaborations with Dada Kitchen and Roca Bathrooms. Clients can request these products through Sovrano.
Fendi Casa has a licensing agreement with Luxury Living Group, Italy’s top high-end furniture manufacturer. The designer brand is known for its geometric shapes and intarsia, an Italian Renaissance parquetry and inlay technique.
“If you’re a Fendi fan, what you see in the bags is found in the furniture,” says Ong, referring to the custom metal plates and embroidered double F logos. Aside from the in-your-face logo, the furniture brand is also recognizable by the use of the wide strips of black and tobacco found in the double F. He notes client may ask for more discreet logos.
The furniture is characterized by soft, rounded silhouettes in the armchairs and sofas, Art Deco-inspired cabinets and tables that combine geometric shapes with strong lines and curves. It uses precious materials such as marble, onyx and metallic finishes for tactile appeal.
A six-seat table, made with a single piece of the rare Calacatta marble, fetches P1.2 million.
In keeping with ethical and sustainable fashion, some furniture use crocodile-printed leather instead of the genuine animal leather. The steel-framed Brigitte armchair, for instance, has been selling well for the price of P390,000.
Mechanized for adjustable seating, Montgomery is a three-seat sofa, with leather linear details on the armrests. Price is P1.3 million.
The cabinet drawer is luxuriously lined with suede. “That’s the standard for these designer brands,” says Ong. “With other contemporary brands, the leather or suede lining is an option. These fashion brands spend a premium on finishes.”
Some of Bottega Veneta’s furniture are made by Poltrona Frau, a heritage Italian company known for its exacting standards. The present collection presents BV’s signature intrecciato—or interwoven leather—on the magazine rack and frames. A woven cushion costs P140,000 with additional P10,000 for a two-letter monogram. Braided leather is interpreted in the director’s armchair, priced at P450,000.
“We curated the collections which our market would like,” says Ong. “With Armani/Casa, we got an assortment. We injected blues, greens and oranges from Fendi. In Bottega Veneta, people will buy accent pieces not sets. The braided pillows and picture frames have been selling well. The same leather for the furniture is also used for the bags.”
Prices are comparable to Europe’s, inclusive of shipping and taxes. “That’s why we got a smaller store for better pricing,” Ong says.—CONTRIBUTED INQ