In the imminent rush of this current lifestyle, where “instant” equates to efficiency and mass production translates to success, the niceties of thoroughly managed and meticulously planned craftsmanship and artistry are lost in a cesspool of copycat designs that flood commercial markets with uniform mediocrity.
It is in seemingly sleepy towns all over the world where traditions have been kept alive and exquisite. In the Philippines, weavers of Ilocos, the embroiderers of Taal, Batangas, and the wood craftsmen in
Delight, by Manahan and Pacinek
In Europe where time-honored craftsmen are honored and respected, some of them unnamed, their work is preserved in monuments, edifices, and homes, and passed on to the present generation, until a time comes when they feel the need to reboot and update designs, while keeping the techniques and principles of their craft intact.
In January 2016, while visiting the workshop of master glassmaker Jiri
Zeroing in on industrial designers whom Frondoso equated with the present-day Renaissance man, “because they can draw, sculpt, create inventions, and most importantly, work with a wide variety of materials and crafts people,” by process of elimination, three names surfaced: Gabriel Lichauco, whose furniture pieces awarded him the Asian Star 2014 at Manila FAME and Singaplural International Furniture Fair Singapore, and at Maison et Objet Asia 2015; Stanley Ruiz, creator of interactive art sound while living in New York from 2005 to 2008 and later in Manila, fashioning “modern day everyday objects from raw organic materials fused together with machine-wrought processes and elements,” as described by Silverlens Gallery; and Lilianna Christina Manahan, awarded in 2014 as one of Six Young Asian Rising Designers at Maison et Objets in Singapore, and whose products, rife with literary and historical research, translate to whimsical, fanciful functional
Pacinek and Stephanie Frondoso (kneeling) with the artists and the Czech team
In October 2016, the three designers accompanied by Frondoso headed for
Observing first-hand the style of the master they were working with, Lichauco,
The three designers experienced working in the European tradition of guildsmen. Pacinek introduced them to the best craftsmen in the region, each with a specialization, availing of their expertise in stained glass,
Growth II by Ruiz and Pa?inek
As an organizer, Stephanie Frondoso described the collaboration: “It was a dream team.” Art Fair Philippines, February 16 to 19, The Link, Ayala Center, Makati.