Best of MOM

Three featured products caught the eye of international tastemakers during the country’s participation in Maison & Objet and More (MOM), the online sourcing platform of the long-running Parisian trade fair Maison & Objet, which were showcased at the Parc des Expositions of Paris-Nord Villepinte from March 24-28, 2022.

Part of the DesignPhilippines delegation organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the Rattan and Abaca Partition by Shelmed Cottage Treasures, Macaroni chandelier by Lija by That One Piece, and ZZ Runner by Weavemanila were enlisted under the Best of MOM and will be joined by global brands on the trade floor for buyers to the European market.

“At the MOM Paris fair, we always set up dedicated, inspirational spaces and select—with the help of trends experts—the remarkable novelties, the colors, the shapes or the materials which are in line with upcoming trends,” said Caroline Biros, Marketing and Communication Director of MOM.

“Designers are currently deeply inspired by ethnic crafts using traditional weavings or sustainable fabrics made from plant leaves,” points out Biros. “These techniques, perfectly mastered by the Filipino manufacturers, are really interesting when they take a strong design bias,” she added.

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Last year, Filipino designers turned to color, fun, and nostalgia, centering on these key themes in response to the big lifestyle shift brought about by the pandemic. The shift to bubble living has led to redecorating and repurposing spaces into personal sanctuaries for work, play, and meditation. this led to the creation of these timely pieces that have earned their place alongside other international favorites.

Making the Macaroni
The collaboration between contemporary lighting and furniture brand LIJA by That One Piece and product designer Rachelle Dagñalan was a perfect pairing that was bound to produce something extraordinary.

The collaborators played up their strengths and, gave a meaningful and modern spin to the materials they were given. Dagñalan honed a deep affinity for clay, stone, and woven fibers as she grew up playing around with these materials. LIJA by That One Piece founder Rowen de Jesus, likewise, has a knack for working with natural materials—and crafting unique pieces out of them.

“Rachelle initially wanted a design that deviates from the jagged or pointed or denticulate designs that we have been doing for the past few seasons,” explains de Jesus. “[For the Macaroni Chandelier], her design inspirations were the noodle, of course, and the Slinky toy. We both played around with the idea, sort of created a hybrid between the two, and voila—the Macaroni Chandelier was born!”

The collaborators wanted the pendant lamp to fit both grand living and bubble living. “It has the magnificence to stand out in a large space, and can be equally impactful when hung in a one-room apartment,” de Jesus points out.

Pièce de Résistance
The ZZ Runner was crafted by community-based weaving company Weavemanila and designed by product designers Rita Nazareno and Gabby Lichauco of Nazareno/Lichauco.

“The ZZ rug is a unique piece,” shares Weavemanila’s Ann Hernandez. “It is both new yet has a retro feel. It is youthful yet nostalgic. It is like an oxymoron [of a product] and I think this is what made it stand out and be chosen as one of MOM’s best designs to be featured this coming 2022.”

Working together with Nazareno/Lichauco, Hernandez and her team took the “play” in playful design seriously. Introducing unusual shapes and vibrant colors into their latest collection, Weavemanila was encouraged to explore outside what they were used to.

The end result, of course, is well worth it. Weavemanila happily received the notice that their ZZ Runner had been chosen among the roster of products to be exhibited in Paris. “I think it’s because of the uniqueness of the piece of Rita and Gabby’s design, and how we’ve executed the idea using sustainable material.”

“I feel that a good product should be able to tick as many boxes as possible,” Hernandez muses. “Design, environmental sustainability, and a company that is people-centric. We are proud to say that our company supports [and works hand in hand] with weavers and communities in order to make products such as the ZZ Runner.”

A fusion of material and culture
The Rattan and Abaca Partition was created through the collaboration of Shelmed Cottage Treasures and Taiwan’s Kai Ping Liu and Ya Ching Lee of Essence Design & Craft.

The design exchange program where Philippine designers were matched with manufacturers from Taiwan and vice versa paved the way for the creation of the third piece that clinched a place among other favorites in the Best of MOM.

Dubbed as “Between” the Rattan and Abaca Partition is a fusion of two countries and cultures. “Because Abaca is mostly presented in a flat form, we thought of making it different yet uniquely fit as a home accessory and furniture,” shared designer Kai Ping Liu.

The partition presents the diversity of Abaca weaving. It can work as an individual or combinable piece suitable for different spaces. Initially intended for the Taiwanese market, we are now looking forward to capturing different international markets,” he added.

In these changing times, a Filipino manufacturing company with 120 years of experience carries on. As malleable as the natural fiber called abaca, from which its products are made, Shelmed Cottage Treasures has faced many challenges, and yet it has remained unbroken. Shelmed is now run by Mary Mediatrix Villanueva, a third-generation manufacturer, and exporter who was born into the abaca industry. Her grandparents were abacaleros, and her parents—the Vallejos—artisans.

Asked why abaca is their chosen material, Villanueva says, “The natural fiber is malleable. There are so many processes that you can adapt—braiding, twisting, crocheting, weaving. And you can shape it, dye it into many colors, and be excitedly different in creative approaches.”

M&O is one of the premier trade fairs in the home lifestyle and furniture industry, gathering the best brands under one roof twice a year in Paris, France. Its digital platform MOM was established in 2016 as a digital showroom for its exhibitors and connects buyers with the exhibitors before and after the show. MOM connects around 400,000 buyers through its platform, presenting a great opportunity for more than 30 FAME+ brands to reach new buyers with their showcase of products and collections. The DesignPhilippines banner is available all year round in MOM.

DesignPhilippines will continue to launch new products in MOM 2022 armed with a new creative direction.

Visit fameplus.com for more of the Philippines’ exciting product collections.

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) export promotions arm committed to nurturing the global competitiveness of Philippine micro, small, and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), exporters, designers, and manufacturers. The agency has a portfolio aspiring toward the highest standards of creativity and innovation for export sectors such as home, fashion, lifestyle, food, the creative industries, and sustainable solutions and technologies.

Core to the agency’s Integrated Approach to Export Marketing, implemented in partnership with both public and private sectors, are CITEM’s signature events.

For the home, fashion, and lifestyle (HFL) sectors, CITEM has staged 70 editions of its signature event, Manila FAME, and has, through the years, established it as the premier design and lifestyle event in the Philippines. In October 2020, in view of the increasing digitalization of trade, CITEM launched FAME+, the newest digital trade and community platform which houses catalogues of premium homeware, furniture, lighting, apparel, footwear, jewelry, art, and lifestyle products by close to 300 Philippine designers and brands. Through FAME+, sourcing for the new and the now in Philippine design is enabled anywhere, at any pace, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. The ultimate space for Philippine design is in line with the agency’s continuing export-promotion initiatives to ensure that the country’s MSMEs continue to be competitive in the global arena.

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