This week we’re profiling a designer who’s making a strong design statement on the global stage. Based in Manila, Ito Kish made an immediate splash in the world of design and furniture with his very first original piece — the Gregoria Lounge. Three years on, Ito Kish is a designer on the rise; the industry insider’s choice has showcased at reputable trade exhibitions such as Maison and Objet Paris, Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan and clinched Silver at the A’Design Competition in Como, Italy.
It’s hard to pinpoint his exact style, Kish has a penchant for marrying different creative styles and a variety of design techniques to end up with something wholly original. His designs are meditative yet formidable — firmly imprinted in modern times while commanding an otherworldly presence. They also boast a wonderful tactile quality – interweaving natural and unique elements that convey the maker’s deep appreciation towards Filipino creativity and craftsmanship. Take for instance the Gregoria Lounge, Kish’s award-winning masterpiece is a structural marvel honed from elaborate woodworking techniques. It was inspired by the balusters commonly seen in Filipino homes. Taking an unassuming feature and turning it into something extraordinary is all part of Ito’s genius.
Time to start taking notes: We quiz Ito for his design inspiration and his take on the key design trends of 2016.
It is so exciting to have the opportunity to interview you! We’ve been following your work and we’re always inspired by your creative point of view. Who is your icon or greatest influence?
There is really no specific icon but I have in the past admired the works of Budji Layug, Tess Pasola and Milo Naval.
You established your store 14 years ago and built your self-titled brand in 2012 – both very successful. Tell us about your journey. Where do we see your brand in another 14 years?
The retail component of my company started way back when I was a young boy of 11, dreaming of opening a beautiful store where people can go and get inspired. The ITO KISH brand was launched in March 2012. Looking back, we have been very blessed to have the opportunity to show in Paris, Milan, NYC and Singapore and our local trade show Manila FAME. It is a very competitive market out there but we are very excited to be able to achieve some form of recognition and have Filipino-inspired furniture appreciated all over the world.
Your home is just WOW! What inspired you to design it in this way?
My personal space is created based on my mood, travels and what I love, or anything that gets me inspired. It is a mix of everything done in a personal way.
We were obsessed with brass in 2015. Do you think this will still be big this year? What do you think are the 3 biggest home design trends for 2016?
Yes, brass or gold are still going to be big this year. Colour will make a comeback. Florals will be big as well and the influence of Asia will be strong.
For most of us who are based in Asia, how can we make these trends work?
Stuff for the home is an investment so there should always be a practical consideration but furniture is not just what you need for the home. Decor and furnishing are necessary elements and can easily be incorporated into your interiors at a good price point. Sofas can be reupholstered and given a second life. Painting and refinishing existing pieces will easily impart a fresh look to your home. Mixing what’s current with what you already own is the key. Adding your personal touch makes it even more interesting.
What do you think are the 3 interior design must-haves for 2016?
Furniture that is flexible in its use, statement pieces, and anything with floral.
Incorporating summer greens in our homes tops our New Year’s decorating agenda. What’s yours?
I get busier every year, or should I say, every quarter. A home with a resort feel is a must for me. I think I need to buy a new place. (laughs)
How can we style our place better? Where do we begin?
Invest on a few basic pieces. Build a storage plan and keep the unnecessary stuff away. Buy what you really like. Be original and pick the piece that’s not expected because that will add character to your space.
What is one mistake many commit when it comes to home design? We welcome your pro tips and tricks.
Filling the home with too much clutter. I’ve often come across homes installed with too much white light. White light exposes imperfections in any space. Instead go for warm or ambient lighting that can induce a good mood. Also consider scale and proportion when decorating — poorly proportioned furniture pieces will make your space feel out of sync.
What’s that one piece of furniture you can’t live without?
A good bed.
We get inspiration from print and online magazines, Pinterest, and travels. Where do you find yours?
Travel, museums, and good movies
What’s your favourite place for shopping?
NYC and Paris
What’s your favourite museum?
The Prado in Madrid
How about your favourite movie of all time?
What do you splurge on when you go shopping?
I splurge on a good pair of shoes.
Thanks so much for talking to us. One last thing, what are your home design pet peeves?
Hanging a wall clock in the bedroom
233 N. Garcia Street, Bel-Air
Makati City 1209 Philippines