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Sustainability through design

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In a bid to highlight the country’s flair in sustainable design, Philippine delegates from the furniture and home and lifestyle industries presented the best local products in Ambiente from 8 to 12 February in Messe Frankfurt in Germany.

Tony Gonzales, lead curator of the 2019 participation, continues to inspire the Philippine delegates and the export manufacturing industry toward going sustainable.

“People often equate natural materials with sustainable materials. There is a myriad natural raw materials in the Philippines, but if you get a thousand orders of rattan furniture, is it still sustainable if you will destroy half of the forest? Sustainability is not only in the material. It should be embedded in the entire business process,” Gonzales said.

“The country’s strength lies in its creativity. That is how we champion sustainability, by harnessing a material to its full potential. The capabilities of the Filipinos to create something out of nothing is how we revolutionize the green movement even way before sustainability became a trend,” he added.

How design manufacturers from the Philippines manipulate abaca is one example of its drive towards sustainability. In the past, abaca skin was discarded as only the inner core was considered important. However, Philippine manufacturers thought of a way to maximize the entire material and create other amazing products. Banana trunks and leaves are also examples of materials that were usually overlooked but were maximized by Filipinos to create various furniture and home décor pieces.

“What was once considered as agricultural waste became an export product. That is what amazes and excites foreign buyers, our ability to turn what could have been trash into something valuable,” Gonzales noted.

With the theme “Sustainability Through Design,” LifestylePhilippines will highlight its sustainable products and processes in Ambiente, the world’s No. One trade fair in products associated with dining, living and giving. The 2018 Philippine participation in Ambiente exceeded targets as it generated $2.3 millon export sales and aims to replicate or surpass this achievement in this year’s edition.

Manila FAME, the Philippines’ flagship sourcing event for design and lifestyle, was the launching pad of the 24 companies who will represent the Philippines in Ambiente. The show is a platform where Philippine manufacturers were prepared and honed to become ready in the global arena. The next show is slated on 25 to 27 April at the World Trade Center, Pasay City, Philippines.

The Philippine pavilion will feature Arte Cebuana, Enpekei, Finali, Pradora, South Sea Veneer and Tadeco for the furniture and lighting sector.

The home décor and houseware, gifts and seasonal décor sectors will be represented by Arden, Bon Ace, Celestial Arts, Chanalli, Elms Accesoria de Casa, GSG by Flora Creatives, Klassy Collections, Larone Crafts, Marketex (formerly Markalex), Masaeco, Natural Craft, Nature’s Legacy, Oricon, Red Slab Pottery, SAFFY, Inc., Starlight Homessences, Tuy Arts and Designs and Twenty-Nine Eleven.

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