Design Styles Collide in these Cool Collabs

Design collaborations often merge varying aesthetics, techniques and even materials together, but always impart a refreshed perspective for the brands involved. This just proves that when creative minds meet, awe-inspiring results come about.

Known for its timeless, tropical-style furniture and home accessories, E. Murio has often shied away from the spotlight but has become an insider label for discerning homeowners throughout its 40-plus years in the industry. HaloHalo meanwhile, is an emerging brand that has become a cult favorite amongst the younger social media set with its laidback yet purposeful energy. While an unlikely pairing at first, E. Murio and HaloHalo have come together once again for a second-collection collaboration entitled Escape Home. Inspired by slow living, the home line features everyday pieces like chairs, trays, and loungers, elevated with flora-like shapes and curves or island-life musings, and made with rattan and bamboo, hallmarks of the E. Murio aesthetic; as well as recycled plastic banig, a HaloHalo signature.

Tisha de Borja-Samson, E. Murio’s creative director, looks back at how this follow-up collaboration (the first was for both their maiden participations to Maison et Objet in September 2019) came about. “The latest collaboration with HaloHalo was borne out of conversations over the years and a bit of serendipity,” shares de Borja-Samson. “We had been wanting to expand our collection but never had been quite able to fit it in.”

Earlier this year, however, Cara Sumabat of HaloHalo had the opportunity to participate in two events and had asked de Borja-Samson to come in and collaborate once again. “The deadlines were tight and as I was walking around our workshop wondering what to do and how to do it, I ended up in a place where we keep all items that never were,” reflects de Borja-Samson, “There were a few pieces there I had been working on for years but was never able to get them just right. And that became the entire collection. It turns out the pieces were pretty much done, they just needed the HaloHalo touch.”

jb+, a spinoff label from notable Pampanga-based wood carving manufacturer JB Woodcraft, was also a result of the curation and collaboration with creative directors Rita Nazareno and Gabby Lichauco for last year’s Kindred Design Collective presentation at Maison et Objet. To keep the momentum from the success of the previous collection going, the design duo worked with JB Woodcraft’s Leslie Bituin-Mendiola to continue lending a contemporary flair to the brand’s intricately hand-carved classics. Wooden mirrors bordered with life-like roses, column-style stools, and filigree handles on armoires were modernized through bold washes of black and Yves Klein blue lacquer or ombré paint applications. “We joined M&O Paris in September last year with CITEM’s Kindred and it was my first time to participate under CITEM,” shares Bituin-Mendiola, “[The collection] was experimental as JB has been known for hand carving, but not contemporary pieces. This [collaboration] became very interesting and expanded to many great ideas by Rita and Gabby, so it was named jb+.”

Meanwhile, Nazareno’s own label Zacarias 1925, known for pushing the boundaries of what woven rattan can be fashioned into, explores the journey to self-discovery, being true to oneself, as well as breaking the stigma surrounding women’s bodies in its Be collection of hand-woven wicker and leather purses. Teaming up with Weavemanila, Inc., the Be designs were rendered—with a 3D-like perspective—into intricately woven abaca rugs, giving Weavemanila’s catalog of usual designs an artistic challenge. “We took a picture of Zacarias1925 bag and interpreted that picture into a carpet or wall art, and it was anything that you allow the picture to be,” muses Weavemanila’s Ann Hernandez, “Some saw something provocative, but it can also be a clam, or a bud of a flower opening up, or a suha’s (pomelo) top view. We would love to work with more artists in these types of designs in the future.”


Trays and doghouses by E. Murio


Wooden Wallflowers by jb+


Woven abaca rugs by WeaveManila x Zacarias 1925


See what these design partnerships have come up with for Maison et Objet’s Digital Fair accessible online until September 2021 on MOM (Maison&Objet and More) at mom.maison-objet.com, and on Manila FAME’s digital platform, FAME+, at fameplus.com, beginning 22 October 2020.

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