Design Conversation Starters From A To Z

From Art to Zaha Hadid.


When art meets home design

Among BenCab's most famous works are paintings from his Sabel and Larawan series.

Only good things can happen when Philippine National Artist BenCab and Moooi Carpets, a division of the Moooi brand founded by Dutch design superstar Marcel Wanders, get together. Moooi, represented locally by Abitare Internationale, approached BenCab to participate in this special project to mark its 20th anniversary. Having celebrated 50 years of his own creative output in 2015, BenCab drew from his existing body of work and chose from his iconic Sabel and Larawan series that, he felt, “somehow came naturally,” and were the “best fit for the medium.” The BenCab + Moooi Carpets collaboration is a collection of eight limited edition artworks executed with only eight pieces per design. Abitare Internazionale, Crown Tower, 107 H.V. dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati, 892.1889



Who’s shining your Baccarat crystal these days?

Baccarat Memoir service set,

At Manhattan’s Baccarat Hotel, which handles $100,000 worth of crystal a day, the task of cleaning falls to four “glass attendants.” If you’re more into DIY, follow the maker’s instructions: Fine crystal can be cleaned in the dishwasher, but it requires high-alkaline detergent, 138° F water for washing, and 183° F for rinsing. Afterward, wipe with a pure cotton cloth, then hold up to the light to ensure that there are no spots. And repeat. Opening soon at Shangri-La at The Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City



There is nothing like a classic Chesterfield.

With an emphasis on tradition and elegance, contemporary furniture maker Poltrona Frau introduces its plush Chester Line sofa. The three-piece couch can be configured in a number of different ways to fit any living space. Tufted Pelle Frau leather upholstery can be mixed and matched with the Poltrona Frau fabrics for the goose down cushion. Furnitalia, Crescent Park West, 30th Street corner Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, 819.1887


Design For Good

In the world of design, two companies anchor their values on humanity and the environment.

On his website, Belgian designer Sep Verboom ( explains his chosen handle, Boomin Sep. In his native tongue, “boom in” means “to do things differently, without restrictions.” Verboom has certainly been trying to live up to that. For his postgraduate thesis on sustainable development, Verboom spent six months in Cebu in 2012. In the southern province, he initiated two projects. Verboom worked with the shipyard communities to teach them how to gather, clean, and prepare discarded ropes for reuse. The Belgian also explored the province’s junkyards to develop a line of small furniture and lighting fixtures made with recycled electric fan grills.


Since then, Verboom’s growing portfolio displays his expansive range in terms of the materials he uses and the products he creates. The electric fan grills have been used for a line of lamps, mirrors, stools, and trays. The ropes debuted at Salone del Mobile in its reincarnation as hand-woven carpets, a collaborative project with Belgian brand Papilio. The same ropes are part of a mesmerizing collection of mirrors, still awaiting mass production.

While he has gained multiple accolades and extensive media play abroad, it is ironic that his products are not widely known or sold in the Philippines. There are plans of launching some of his collections, and hopefully that comes to fruition soon. Verboom has given so much to Philippine communities. Perhaps it is time for us to return the favor. 


Interface is the world’s biggest manufacturer of carpet tiles. Through the years, the company has refined its vision to include not just sustainability, but also the empowerment of communities. “By 2011, Interface was using yarn derived from commercial fishing nets made by our yarn supplier, Aquafil. Thinking that artisanal fishing communities might be an untapped source of nets and seeing the opportunity to do this in a way that could empower communities led to Interface renewing its interest in creating an inclusive business supply chain,” Jon Khoo, Interface’s Innovation partner, explains.

The idea was further explored through meetings with marine conservationists and polymer experts, and Net-works was born out of this, a joint venture between Interface and the Zoological Society of London. At the core of this project is Nylon 6, a material widely used in the production of fishing nets which, according to Khoo, is “exactly the same material that we use in on our products—it’s very durable, allows for great design, and is recyclable.”


Interface and Net-work searched for the perfect site for its pilot project—a country with, Khoo explains, “significant marine plastic waste issue, had fishing communities that we felt we could empower through access to finance, and where ZSL felt there were marine conservation challenges that Net-Works could help tackle.” Danajon Bank in Cebu fit the bill with its plastic waste and poor fishing communities. Also, there was an opportunity to protect the natural surroundings, with its mangroves and coral reefs threatened by global warming and over-development.

Starting in 2012, the area’s communities have been collecting discarded and end-of-life fishing nets which are cleaned, packed, and shipped to Aquafil in Italy for recycling. Net-works set up their own banks run by community members. “The banks are similar to co-operatives, a model focused on financial inclusion,” Khoo said. Through the banks, the communities can open their own accounts and even take out small loans. Net-works has now expanded to Bantayan, also in Cebu, as well as coastal villages in Iloilo. Cameroon was recently added to its list of project sites. In the coming years, Interface, together with Net-works, aims to spread a new corporate gospel anchored on the values of sustainability, environmental activism, and inclusivity. DEVI DE VEYRA


Executive Class Mogul by Giorgetti

The Mogul writing desk by Giorgetti is meticulously crafted from solid walnut Canaletto wood and equipped with leather and glass inserts. The synergy between the desk and the Baron armchair serves as the perfect working environment for any executive. The desk chair can either be fixed or have a swivel seat. It is also available with four legs or with a five-wheel revolving base. Furnitalia.


Fit for a King

A modern iteration of a classic vintage style, the Aftereight chair by Natuzzi adds a sense of comfort, warmth, and calm to any room. Available in fabric upholstery and leather, the chair is a chameleon of sorts, taking on distinct personalities in every different execution. MOS Design, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, 856.2789


Filipino Design

It’s all about Filipino design.

From top: Holland & Sherry fabric,; Ito Kish bench,; Jewelmer pearl bracelet,

Everyone knows what’s happening in the Philippines right now. Great design! (What were you thinking about?) For those who haven’t made the trek to Manila, here are three artisans to watch. Furniture designer Ito Kish launched his eponymous collection in 2012. The Basilisa bench (above) highlights Philippine form, featuring five unique rattan weaves from various regions around the archipelago. T’nalak is an indigenous woven textile made from abaca fibers that is handcrafted by the women of the T’boli tribe in the southern Philippines using a centuries-old technique. The traditional colorway is red, black, and cream, though Holland & Sherry offers the weave in poppier shades. Jewelmer, founded by a French pearl farmer and a Philippine businessman in 1979, is the world’s largest producer of the golden South Sea pearl (also known as the Philippine pearl). While its sought-after pieces mix high jewelry techniques with Filipino artistry, the company’s work on protecting and conserving Philippine coastal communities is what puts it a cut above.



Green is good.

Foo dog jars, Madylin table lamps, and Wyla Hood pendant lamp from Ethan Allen.

From botanical green Foo Dog porcelain jars in their traditional classic form to mood lighting such as the elegant Madylin glass lamp and the Yla pendant light with its antiqued brass hardware and enamel cover, green is the way to go at Ethan Allen to add a new dimension to your home. Focus Global, Twenty-Four Seven McKinley Building, 24th Street corner 7th Avenue McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, 705.9999


Hong Kong

Hong Kong is happening.

From top left: Architectural renderings of the Murray Building façade; lobby; and bathroom; The Tate Dining Room and Bar.

It should come as no surprise that good design is where it’s at in a cosmopolitan center like Hong Kong. Set to open in late 2017, the Murray Building, one of the city’s emblematic landmarks and designed by British modernist Ron Phillips, will be transformed by Foster + Partners into a luxury hotel, The Murray, and will be operated by Niccolo Hotels. “With the Murray Building—an outstanding example of 1970s Hong Kong architecture—we have been able to reconnect an important civic landmark with the city,” says Luke Fox, senior executive partner and head of studio at Foster + Partners. “This project draws on key areas of our expertise in urbanism, architecture, and interiors, and our design will breathe new life into this classic Hong Kong building by creating a unique hotel and leisure destination for international visitors and locals to enjoy.”


High design can also be found at the Michelin-rated Tate Dining Room and Bar. Owned and operated by Vicky Lau, Asia’s Best Female Chef for 2015 as awarded by S. Pellegrino, the space was given new life by Filipino architect J.J. Acuña. Located in the foodie neighborhood of Sheung Wan, the overall atmosphere is created from a palette of whites, nudes, and pinks, mixed with brass and greens.

Icons Update

From top left to right: Bilia by Gio Ponti, 1932;  Giova by Gae Aulenti, 1964; Luminator by Pietro Chiesa, 1932; Naska, Historical Archive Fontana Arte, 1933.

Fontana Arte draws upon its archives and releases updated versions of 20th-century lighting classics. Lucem, Clipp Center, 11th Avenue corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City.

Jens Chairs

Jens Chairs by Antonio Citerrio for B&B

Italian architect and designer Antonio Citterio continues his work with B&B Italia in this latest collection of modern chairs. Jens was influenced by the classic designs of Chinese furniture dating back to the Ming Dynasty. The collection of chairs is lauded for the elegant blend of wood and black leather. Focus Global.


Ken Fulk

At Kips Bay with De Gournay

Together with American designer Ken Fulk, de Gournay, the British decorative company specializing in custom wall coverings, fabric, and porcelain, recently created a custom wallpaper for the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York City earlier this year, combining landscapes from two of de Gournay’s scenic layouts L’Eden and English Landscape with a menagerie of animals from the city’s zoo. Based on a fictional tale imagined by Fulk, “Madame’s Magical Menagerie,” is filled with exotic animals that have escaped from a nearby zoo and have found a new home in the Madame’s lush backyard, providing entertainment for her lavish and much talked about dinner parties. The handpainted panels with their carefully depicted scenes conjure up a stylish fantasy world of a time gone by. Elements Fine Furnishing Fabrics, 2322 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati, 889.8872


Look Up

Clockwise: Perseus, Swing, Trim, and Crown.

With its creative, contemporary designs, Barovier & Toso is giving more reason to create heightened focal points in every room.

PERSEUS Called a “subversive” chandelier, the Perseus was designed by Marcel Wanders in 2016 and is complemented this year by a new five-piece whimsical collection that includes two different-sized suspended lights and a wall light.


SWING Reminiscent of a saxophone, with similarities to the Loch Ness Monster, the Swing is an elegant and interesting conversation piece that adds presence to any room. It is available in multiple models that are versatile in their arrangement. Living Innovations Ground Floor, Fort Victoria, Fifth Avenue corner 23rd Street, Bonifacio Global City, 830.2230.

TRIM This chandelier is what happens when you borrow an idea from the ’60s and compose it with geometric principles, precise mathematical calculations, and “assemble it without following any rules.”

CROWN With an uncanny resemblance to a royal crown, this crystal chandelier designed by Brian Rasmussen shows many similarities to a Venetian chandelier. It is offered in three configurations with one, two, or three tiers.



Design duo Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien mark a decade of collaboration with Moroso by launching the Modernista seating collection. The fusion of Indian culture and industrial design is visible in the sleek sofas and armchairs. Casa Bella, MDI Corporate Center, 10th Avenue Corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City

New Ideas


Designed by Roberto Lazzeroni, the Icaro round sofa from Flexform's Mood collection is the perfect addition to that secluded corner of your living area. A tubular wooden structure supports the supple seat cushion and throw pillows making it the ideal spot to unwind. Furnitalia.

Outdoor Designs


From B&B Italia comes new outdoor furniture collections from Antonio Citterio: Ray Outdoor Natural and Ray Outdoor Fabric, and the Erica Series. The Ray outdoor collections of sofas, chairs, and chaise longues are made of UV-resistant polypropylene fibers that are constructed in a ribbon-like weave. Available in an array of colors ranging from turquoise to bright Bordeaux. Focus Global.

Promemoria Perfection


Collections born today, inspired by the past, looking to the future. This is the mantra of luxury furniture maker Promemoria. Its latest series of furnishings includes lighting fixtures, tables, cabinets, and sofas that defy the essence of time. Focus Global.

QLED TVs from Samsung at B&B Italia

Views of the front and back of The Frame, designed by Yves Behar.

Announced during Milan Design Week earlier this year, Samsung and B&B Italia have come together to launch the revolutionary designer TV The Frame, designed by Swiss designer Yves Behar, as well as a new line of premium QLED TVs to complement B&B Italia’s contemporary furniture. The collaboration of these two market leaders is set to elevate the home entertainment experience and will bring Samsung TVs into B&B Italia shops around the world.

“Technology has become an inseparable part of our lives and the way we live at home. B&B Italia has always interpreted the evolution in living through dedication to research and innovation, and recognizes these qualities in the new range of Samsung premium TVs. This partnership gives us the opportunity to further qualify and enhance our refined furniture proposals with TVs at the cutting edge of technology and design,” says B&B Italia CEO Giorgio Busnelli. Focus Global.



We still do read.

This year’s essential tomes:

Creating Home, Design For Living, by Keith Summerfour

Heart and Home: Rooms that Tell Stories, by Linda O’Keefe

The Creative Home: Inspiring Ideas for Beautiful Living, by Geraldine James

Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home, by Domino Editors, Jessica Romm Perez, Shani Silver. Available at Fully Booked.


Sound System

BeoSound Shape, the scalable wireless speaker by Bang & Olufsen, turns sound into a form of art. The customizable sound system is comprised of several hexagonal shapes combined together to form different patterns of fabrics and colors. Elevate any space with this unique wall art that boasts B&O’s rich quality of sound. Living Innovations.


Tom Dixon

On the 25th anniversary of Tom Dixon’s S Chair, Cappellini will release 99 limited edition pieces of the sinuous chair. For more than three decades, Dixon is a maverick in the design world, renowned for experimenting with new materials and ways of constructing furniture. The S Chair retains the same iconic silhouette but is upholstered in a faded silver leather. Studio Dimensione, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, 856.6756.



It’s Ultime for bed

“Objects make our everyday life, we have an undeniable emotional bond with them,” says industrial designer Philippe Nigro. His Ultime bed for Ligne Roset, made of tubular steel and padded polyester quilting, is comfortable, welcoming, and attractive. The bed is available in two leg heights, in 10 or 15 centimeters. MOS Design.


Vintage Modern

Re-made exclusively by Molteni&C is a line of furniture designed by 20th-century master of design and architecture, Gio Ponti. His original designs are resurrected in this new collection of armchairs, bookcases, and tables inspired by the designer’s nautical escapades. Furnitalia.

World Tour


And with that, we’ve completed the Aman world tour.

From top left to right: Amanyangyun, China; Amanbagh, India; Amanpulo, Philippines; Amanpulo; Amanzoe, Greece; and Amanemu, Japan.

“How many have you been to?” asked a flexible couple from Germany after a particularly grueling yoga session around the Olympic-size infinity pool at Amanbagh in the Aravalli Hills, near Jaipur. They were referring to the number of Aman resorts I had visited, in the same way people used to humblebrag about the number of stamps on their passports. Things are evolving in Amanworld, however.


Since opening the T&C reader favorite Amanpuri on a once desolate stretch of Phuket, Thailand, in 1988, the resort has added 30 properties in 20 countries. The rooms at the newest location, Amanyangyun, in Shanghai, are actually Ming and Qing Dynasty houses rescued from abandoned villages on the Yangtze that were moved 400 miles upstream and recreated on the spot. Aman Le Mélézin, in Courchevel, France, has been remodeled. Two Spa Houses, a new concept for the brand, have opened at Amanoi, in Vietnam.

And 2015 brought us the Aman Tokyo, the brand’s first city hotel (New York is rumored to be next), whose soaring rice-papered lobby and 34th-floor basalt-lined pool may be more Instagrammed than Mount Fuji. The best-loved (and much-copied) conceits, like locally made in Shanghai, are actually Ming and Qing Dynasty houses rescued from abandoned villages on the Yangtze that were moved 400 miles upstream and recreated on the spot. Aman Le Mélézin, in Courchevel, France, has been remodeled. Two Spa Houses, a new concept for the brand, have opened at Amanoi, in Vietnam. And 2015 brought us the Aman Tokyo, the brand’s first city hotel (New York is rumored to be next), whose soaring rice-papered lobby and 34th-floor basalt-lined pool may be more Instagrammed than Mount Fuji. The best-loved (and much-copied) conceits, like locally made. WHITNEY ROBINSON


X-Factor: Linda Fargo at Bergdorf Goodman

Top: Window displays at Linda’s at Bergdorf Goodman. Bottom: Linda Fargo.

Personally curated by Bergdorf Goodman’s very own first lady of style, Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation, the new Linda’s at Bergdorf Goodman highlights an ever-changing selection of Fargo’s personal picks of eclectic products, including ready-to-wear, accessories, vintage pieces, beauty products, decorative home items, and more from in and around the store. Reflective of her personal taste and current obsessions, the shop-in-shop selection can be found on the fourth floor of the Fifth Avenue store and on Bergdorf Goodman, 745 Fifth Avenue, New York.


Zaha Hadid

She lives on.

The Moon System sofa designed by late architect Zaha Hadid goes beyond the conventions of a traditional sofa. In collaboration with B&B Italia, Hadid explores her fascination with curvilinear geometries through a seating system that appears to be sculpted from a single material. Focus Global.


View More Articles About:
Recommended Videos
About The Author
Alicia Colby Sy
Executive Editor
View Other Articles From Alicia
About The Author
William Batchelor
View Other Articles From William Batchelor
Latest Stories
From its initial agribusiness to its current diverse portfolio, these are some of the corporation’s milestones across 185 years.
Their original purpose was to find an aristocratic young lady a worthy match.
Because it never hurts to know what should be on your wishlist.
The must-read novels, compelling memoirs, and diverting histories that are captivating us in 2019 (so far).
The young restaurateur tackles a cuisine closely associated with the family business but sets himself apart by showcasing each of Italy's regional specialties.
The painting had spent the last 126 years in the home of a private collector in Europe.
Master these pronunciations and you'll never think twice again.
San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang remembers his roots and gives back to his hometown.
Photographer Douglas Kirkland remembers the shoot fondly: "It was just myself, the camera, and Marilyn."
Load More Articles