If you are trying to picture how powder-coated metal can be deftly and poetically crumbled into origami-like forms or an allegory of time being folded and unfolded, well, home furniture curator Casa Bella and artist Jinggoy Buensuceso have done the imagining for us in an orderly-disorderly interpretation of the cosmos.
“I want people to enter a door and feel their existential connection to the universe,” explains Jinggoy, adding that he sees himself as a medium creating infinite folds of the universe and letting people in. “I want people to feel a deeper connection with the cosmos and realize that they are made of stardust, and that they can traverse any door and rediscover their existence.”
For the Casa Bella Home and Living anniversary celebration and exhibition at the flagship store at 8 Jupiter St., Bel-Air in Makati, Buensuceso’s The Mouth of Qi projects its silent narrative in a sandbox in the Spanish brand Kettal area, while chrome pieces from the Spiritu Sancti series complement the natural materials of Italian brand Henge. It is interesting how finely crafted art and sublimely designed furniture can interact in the same space, engaging in a sort of visual conversation, quietly ecstatic.
How did the collaboration come about? Casa Bella Home and Living owners Stephanie Coyiuto-Tay and Joseph Tay share how they love design and art in equal measure.
Stenie says, “I love visiting exhibits and museums. While Casa Bella brings the best of European brands, the gold standard for furniture globally, I also truly believe that Philippine art is among the best in the world. The idea of merging these two exceptional talents into a single cohesive space is something that greatly inspired me.”
Joseph agrees. “Celebrated designers of our furniture are also artists and sculptors, such as Ron Arad, who has designed pieces for Moroso. Thus, it seems like a great idea to invite a celebrated Filipino contemporary sculptor, Jinggoy Buensuceso, to collaborate with Casa Bella for an exhibit.”
Ah, the many ways in which a home can be reimagined. It is inevitable: The living room must be a living, evolving space—fluid, reflective of the owner’s mindset or personality. For Stenie and Joseph, they chose pieces from their Casa Bella’s portfolio to create, curate their own home.
“We make sure that they convey our character as a family,” Stenie says, “with my choice of brands reflecting a specific core value for the Filipino homeowner: Cassina to add touch of iconic and historic into our living space; Moroso with its more playful vibe for our design accent pieces; Henge for its amazing curation of beautiful materials such as a stone dining table and brass lights; and the best outdoor brand Kettal for our garden.”
The origin story of Casa Bella, which was put up in 2009, revolves around passion for design and to be able to purvey sublimely designed pieces to many Filipino homes. Stenie explains, “We carefully select the brands that we carry, so we find it amazing when we are able to curate an entire home. Aside from this, we also love collecting art and patronizing our own local artists. Our home is filled with art and sculptures collected throughout the years and we are happy with how both European furniture and art from our talented artists work so well together.”
As Casa Bella celebrates its 13th anniversary of curating and representing some of the world’s leading iconic and innovative brands—Cassina, Kettal, Moroso, Henge, Cattelan Italia, Ditre Italia, and Novamobili—it has now expanded as well into kitchen, wardrobe cabinets, doors, and windows, providing a complete solution to one’s furnishing needs. But the aim, still, is to connect more people to a world that ties art and furniture. Casa Bella is dedicated to elevating the quality of lifestyle inside one's home.
The list of brands is quite impressive. With its inception in 1927, Cassina has a long and decorated history of working with the founding fathers of Italian furniture design. It is known for merging history and design innovation via the highest level of Italian craftsmanship. Moroso is an Italian brand that’s farsighted with its vision, providing unique pieces that stay true to form and function, while pushing the boundaries in industrial design and contemporary art and fashion. With Kettal, all collections are ingeniously designed to be versatile, with stylish designs that work well with each other, while still being individually beautiful and unique. Henge is a design lab in Italy specializing in the use of exquisite premium materials such as brass, silver, and rare natural stones. The brand takes pride in making every furniture and lighting piece by hand using traditional techniques such as hand-burnishing, making every single Henge piece special and truly unique.
Stenie shares how she fell in love with the business of design. “Studying in Italy opened my eyes to the beauty of arts, architecture, and design. I was attracted to the beautiful objects around me. Aside from this, I was always tagging along with my mom, who is very passionate about art.”
She cites her parents as loving and influential persons in her life: mom Elena for her artistic drive and dad Peter for his corporate savviness.
“My father has an acumen for business, which also molded me into having an entrepreneurial mindset. I inherited from him the trait of being single-mindedly focused, which is evident in how he runs our family insurance business.
“Aside from running her own business, my mom took up a course in art, learned to play the piano very well, and is learning French. I learned how to be creative from her—not in the sense of creating beautiful works of art, which she does—but more of having the passion to see new combinations and possibilities. After all, it’s not every day that a furniture store such as Casa Bella deeply collaborates with an artist like Jinggoy Buensuceso.”
For Stenie, Jinggoy’s pieces have always caught her eye, as he is an artist whose works wield such magnetic power. “When I reached out to him, we realized we had the same passion in connecting people to a world of design through different methods—his through his sculptures and mine through furniture and the story they bring into a home.”
And the story is iconic, cosmic, and it starts, continues, and ends with beauty.
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Jinggoy Buensuceso’s “Dis/Order” is on view until Dec. 18 at the Casa Bella showroom, 8 Jupiter St., Makati City.