Your FAVORITE HOME STORE gets a DESIGN OVERHAUL
IN ITS LATEST REBOOT, THIS LOCAL FURNITURE BRAND CONTINUES TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE, AND DOES SO WITH A TOUCH OF CLASSICAL-REVIVAL FLAIR
SPACE ENCOUNTERS IS AMONG the few local home store brands that pulls out all the stops whenever it comes up with a new collection. Nothing is half-baked—from concepts that spin stories, to the pieces that act as characters in each narrative, and even down to the store interiors.
The latest collection called “The New Romantics” is no different from the previous five collections that Space Encounters had produced (Real Living first featured Space Encounters back in March 2010). The team admitted that this new offering is, by far, the most challenging. The Space Encounters team got back to the drawing board—literally. “As a general rule, no Pinterest, no looking at the Internet, that’s why it’s more difficult,” says Thor Balanon, vice president for marketing and interior branding. With just a blank slate to work with, each designer came up with his or her own take on a “romantic” piece, each of which Thor eventually named after a Romantic writer or poet. “We let them supervise the execution of their design, so parang na-witness
nila [yung progress ng gawa nila],” narrates president and CEO, interior designer Wilmer Lopez.
In a sense, the new collection became a reaction to “DIY design,” and ultimately, to the status quo,
which teems with everything industrial—much like how the Romantic movement in the 1800s was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution. “The original Romantics went back to Medieval design. We are going back to the 1940s Philippine design. Perfect, because mid-century [was during the] ’40s and ’50s,” explains Thor.
The New Romantics collection still incorporates the brand’s signature mid-century lines in its pieces, but with a sprinkling of Art Deco and Neoclassical elements in the fine details, like in the slope of a leg or shape of a foot. Space Encounters worked with Christine de Leon of O.G. De Leon, a team that pioneers in pre-cast ornamentation whose works date back to before World War II, for the classical trims that highlight one side of the room, including an ornate frieze, picture rail, chair rail, dado, and the two columns that flank the cash-wrap counter.
Endo Lighting, a Japanese lighting design brand, partnered with Thompson Lighting to provide the lighting design that defined the pieces and interior detailing.
You need only to step inside Space Encounters to know that the team was able to successfully pull off this new collection. Don’t be surprised to find yourself wanting to linger for a while.
The addition of this arched window inspired storeowners Thor Balanon and Wilmer Lopez to come up with The New Romantics collection and the makeover of the entire store. “We like the idea of preserving this dying art form [arched windows], which was seen in Malacañang and Metropolitan Theater. [This style] used to be everywhere before,” says Thor. “That added to the concept. Parang babagay ang arch sa moldings. That’s when it clicked.” Austen Side Chairs start at P18,500 each; Romantic Social Club Table starts at P70,000.
top lEFT This nook looks like a perfect spot to settle in with a good (romantic) book on hand. Wordsworth Table starts at P36,000; Vintage Framed Prints start at P2,000. above The pair of composite columns framing the counter was designed by O.G. De Leon. The group, which is the offshoot of I.G. De Leon, has pioneered in pre-cast embellishments since 1926 (seen in the National Museum, The Metropolitan Theater, and Quezon Memorial Circle, among many other iconic buildings). The same motifs of festoons, wreaths, ribbons, and shields can also be seen on wall panels and pillars in the store. lEFT One wall beside the counter holds shelves of various knickknacks―from stools to industrial lights, and even vintage clocks and electric fans.
RL’s PICKS 1. BYRON SIDEBOARD, STARTS AT P56,000 2. AUSTEN SIDE CHAIR, STARTS AT P18,500 3. SHELLEY BENTWOOD CHAIR, STARTS AT P21,000 4. WAVERLY LOVESEAT, STARTS AT P60,000