By Angela Casco
Hosting cocktail parties or family brunches at home is more than just the food. It’s also about creating an ambience that not only encourages conversation, but also creating a time to remember. The house’s interior contributes to that.
Design inspiration for a space, however, can be drawn from anything under or even beyond the sun. It does not come in a heartbeat, too. It takes time and lots of looking at spaces created from anywhere around the world.
It’s the need for “diningscape” design pegs that Jianna Simpao, Rachel Wenger, and Mia Borromeo have all provided via the Shang by Design exhibit.
The display features curated home concepts specifically made for spending an enjoyable evening with guests.
An installation which ran from August 21-25 at the Shangri-La Plaza, the display featured curated home concepts specifically made for spending an enjoyable evening with guests.
Borromeo, the jet-setting editor of Philippine Tatler Homes, put together an exotic vignette called Moroccan Nights, filled with ornate prints and designs, evident in the rags, colorful glasses for serving mint tea, as well as the Moroccan signature earthenware, tagine.
“The concept of the Moroccan theme is always colorful and intricate,” said Linda Ley, the editor’s design partner for the display. “It’s also a nice theme because it’s unusual and it always sparks conversation during and after dinner.”
For those who want to recreate a Moroccan dinner, Ley said including the tagine in the set-up is a must. “It will look not look Moroccan without the tagine,” she said. “It’s nice to get different designs, too. You don’t have to stick to one kind and size.”
In her His and Hers concept, Simpao, who is the Bride and Breakfast editor-in-chief, mixed masculine and feminine elements for a minimalist space that a couple can live in and accept guests.
“Mixing your personalities together as a couple can be challenging but you don’t have to overdo it,” Simpao said while presenting her vignette. “In meeting halfway, there are always contrasts and there are contrasts that work.” The key is finding pieces that go well together, like “elements that reflected natural elements like stone or wood and matching it with casual design pieces with a cement or leather finish.”
To channel this simple and minimalist yet chic space, Simpao suggested sticking to neutral colors. “I feel that the neutral palette is never tiring to the eyes and it’s always relaxing,” she explained.
She added that while putting together a minimalist concept space is challenging, maintaining it can be just as difficult. Even sticking to the design has been hard for her.
“There’s always this tendency to add more and then it’s not minimalist anymore,” she shared. “It’s a discipline to maintain a home so the key here is learning when to hold back and when to add because otherwise, you’re going to defeat the purpose of having an uncluttered space.”
Wenger, a well-known Filipina interior designer, meanwhile, presented a clever and chic combination of textures and colors for her Eclectic Layers vignette.
“This whole vignette is about juxtapositions,” she said. “I combined expensive and affordable pieces for this space, and I also mixed old and new, which is my style when I design.”
To effectively mix and match in style, Wenger believes it’s best to start with a key piece in the house like a sofa or coffee table.
“I started designing this space with this blue sofa that I chose,” she shared during her presentation. “Then I saw the rug and the coffee table with cement finish, which both compliment the sofa, while the muted mustard couch adds a subtle pop of color.”
Being pragmatic with furniture choices is still important, though, according to Wenger. The Philippines, for instance, has a tropical weather. Because of that, velvet is not a material in any furniture that Wenger would suggest.
“It may look beautiful but it’s like being a fashion victim who wears a coat here even though it’s
summer,” she added. “You always need to design to suit your lifestyle.”