Carpet design

Kultura launches Filipino design studio

Kultura’s design studio initiative will only be available until September 30 at the Podium

Launching on September 1, Kultura welcomed 18 new and seasoned Filipino designers to their Podium location for a month-long celebration of creativity and craftsmanship. The Filipino design studio offers local brands carefully selected by entrepreneurs who offer innovative, sustainable and conscious options.

Here are some of the brands that caught my eye when I visited the launch last week.

Millie Monday
Millie’s brood. The author (second from left) with Millie Monday’s siblings. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Launched by three siblings as a tribute to their mom Millie, Millie Monday offers clever home accessories for the table or home office. Emphasize both form and function, these desk calendars, placemats, tissue holders and journals provide little dots of happiness throughout the day.

Shepard Life Merchandise
SKIN CARE KIT. Items from Shepard Life Goods. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Jewelle and Philip Mugglestone started their pandemic skincare business after studying local herbalism and medicinal plants to create products for their own family. Hailing from Cebu, this couple wanted to offer truly sustainable options to discerning customers who value ingredients with healing and cleansing properties.

The market for the good life

With a storefront in Kapitolyo along Brixton Street, Martie del Pilar deliberately takes her vision and artistry to the next level. Also born out of being locked down in quarantine, The Fine Life Market debuted with liquid hand soap. When friends and family started buying Martie’s products, she expanded the line and continued a partnership with the International Justice Mission. As a Freedom Partner of IJM, she donates 5% of her sales to end online child sexual exploitation here in the Philippines. Shoppers visiting the store can even stop for tea or coffee and browse the gift shop filled with natural products.

DELICATE. Mjorian’s Earrings. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Marigrace Reano starts each scoop by putting pen to paper. Inspired by muse Catriona Gray, she shares the beauty of Philippine wildlife through semi-precious stones designed to realistically mimic delicate horticulture. Going beyond her dream of creating a complete collection of local flowers, Marigrace began to offer a more sensual experience to her customers through tangy, sweet and peaceful luxury candles.

Jim Weaver
BRIGHT AND BOLD. Jenica, Isabel and Mischel by JIM Weaver. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Keeping it in the family, these three sisters launched their wearable art in 2012. Jenica, Isabel and Mischel incorporate the beauty and appeal of Filipino culture into silk scarves, placemats and coasters. In some of their new designs, they draw inspiration from Filipino folklore and the Filipino seas.

Madison Plus Grid
FABULOUS FINDS. Chris Cuasay of Madison Grid Plus. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Seeking to expand and complement his own sisters’ love of table decor, Chris Cuasay began sourcing local finds during the pandemic to add both form and function to entertaining. When her sisters were pleased with these discoveries, she realized that others would appreciate her sourcing creativity as well. Madison Grid Plus was born and started selling merchandise through Instagram. From tableware to home accessories, Chris has even expanded its product list by offering items beyond our borders.

Ken Samudio
MARINE LIFE. Pieces by Ken Samudio. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

A former biologist, it was only natural for Ken Samudio to draw inspiration from corals, sea glass and our beautiful blue waters for his business. True to his commitment to sustainable fashion, he reuses Japanese beads and recycles leather scraps to create bags, bracelets and one-of-a-kind pieces for his distinguished clients. His creations are based on the principles of biomimicry while mixing nature, artifice and even vintage pieces.

Matthew and Melka

Trendier and more accessible than his main brand, Ken Samudio named this other brand after his two children. Seeking to offer more casual and resort-friendly designs, Ken launched Matthew and Melka to offer accessories aimed at a wider audience.

CAPRICIOUS. Flutter Earrings. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

An adept storyteller, Katrina Ong draws inspiration from nature and the world around her to create intricate beaded designs that have been worn on the runways and by celebrities around the world. These carefully crafted red carpet-worthy statement pieces offer Filipino women the opportunity to show off their craftsmanship and talents. –

Kultura’s design studio initiative, which offers fashion, skincare, home furnishings and accessories to discerning consumers, and will only be available until September 30 at Podium.