Ito Kish redefines iconic religious pieces at trade show

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Known for his distinctly Philippine handmade pieces, Ito Kish will launch the Urna, a modern take of the traditional santourna or the wooden boxes used to house figures of saints at the 65th edition of the Manila FAME.

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The designer at work

Mirrors are the main component of the tabletop and wall décor, created through mirror glass cutting to resemble the eponymous religious item. Urna was designed as part of Kish’s continuing efforts to introduce Philippine traditional customs and culture to a younger market.

“I get inspiration from Filipino tradition and culture so a lot of my design is obviously inspired by what’s existing,” Kish said on the inspiration of Urna and his other works. “I started in Manila FAME five years ago and it helped get us to where we are right now. We’ve been very lucky because Manila FAME allowed us to join international trade shows.”

He is set to feature his other collections in the April 21 to 23 show, including his “Binhi,” “Basilisa” and “Julia” lines with the launch of Urna.

Kish’s career as a furniture designer took off in the Philippine’s premier lifestyle and design event with the launch of his first furniture line, “Baluster,” which consisted of chairs, tables, cabinets and accessories that drew inspiration from the balustrade, a ubiquitous structural and decorative element in colonial Hispanic architecture.

He then took his iconic “Baluster Gregoria Lounge” to several international shows, including A’Design, Maison & Objet Paris, International Contemporary Furniture Fair New York, and Salone Internazionale del Mobile, where it was lauded by critics for its craftsmanship and intricate design.

‘Baluster Gregoria Lounge’ (2012)

He has since released 10 collections, all centered on different aspects of Philippine ethos, which have garnered him numerous local and international awards, including Silver for Best Design for Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design and Bronze for Arts, Crafts & Ready-Made Design at the prestigious A’Design competition in Como, Italy and five KATHA Awards, the Philippine’s hallmark for design excellence. He was also named a design icon of Asia at the distinguished Gwangju Design Biennale art exhibit in Gwangju, South Korea in 2013.

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