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Art Fair Philippines 2023 is a maze where you lose yourself in 'biophilic' layout of artworks

By Ratziel San Juan Published Feb 17, 2023 4:27 pm Updated Feb 17, 2023 4:29 pm

Art Fair Philippines 2023 has officially opened its three-day run between Feb. 17 to 19 at Makati's The Link. This marks the annual event's first edition to be held fully face-to-face since 2020.

Although the highly anticipated event's return to a physical setup in its original venue was already enough to raise hype for its in-person comeback, the organizers decided to raise the stakes for their special 10th anniversary.

The unique selling point of this year's Art Fair Philippines is its "biophilic" design.

Much like the rest of the public, that was quite a buzzword that even journalists found unconventional to be used to describe an art event—let alone ever be used in today's context. All we knew was that it was supposed to give fairgoers a “refreshed experience of the fair in an organically designed setting, enhancing the spirit of discovery and surprise while exploring the fair.”

Before we explain how that played out in real life, the TL;DR (too long; didn't read) version is it's a-maze-ing! Expect the unexpected.

Ironically enough, the labyrinthine arrangement of exhibits from floor to floor worked, as it elicited a feeling of mystery hiding behind every turning corridor that would lead to new, unfamiliar exhibits...or the same one you saw moments ago.

Maze-like layout

The multi-level art fair is divided into five levels between The Link's fourth floor up to its roof deck.

New attendees will line up at the building's entrance, which quickly becomes elongated if you're late, to queue for the elevator. Go up to the fourth floor for reception and tickets, then walk around for aesthetic shopping options or proceed to the upper levels.

A total of 52 exhibitors are divided between the fifth to seventh floors, with a few food and retail options wedged somewhere in the mix. There is no particular direction (such as clockwise, counter-clockwise, straight line, etc.) for fairgoers to follow.

@philstarlife The #artfairph exhibit will be open to all starting today, Feb 17 until Feb 19, 2023! @artfairph ♬ original sound - philstarlife

Walk in any direction at your own pace, staying for as long as you wish to, or beeline through the whole thing in an attempt to make sense of the maze-like layout. Signs do, however, point to the main lobby to give you an idea of how to return to the maze entrance.

Previous editions of Art Fair Philippines had featured straightforward white boxes to neatly organize the exhibits allowing audiences to efficiently move on from one to the next. This year's seemingly elliptical edition is comparable to a beehive unraveling. A true testament to the biophilic concept's promise of an "organically designed setting."

Our kudos to longtime Art Fair designer Andy Locsin for truly stepping out of the box to create this year's cutting-edge concept.

"We thought it was important to challenge the idea of the grid this year...Biophilic design takes inspiration from how nature forms itself, the randomness of some things, with the underlying order, so it presents to the public a sense of discovery,” Locsin explained.

Likewise, it wouldn't have worked without the visual appeal of all the event's participating artists. Your exceptional exhibits await the public.

At Art Fair Philippines 2023, come for the art, and stay for the experience. At the core of this maze so easy to lose your way inside is something to find for everyone.