Visual storytellers and designers Ito Kish and Rajo Laurel marry fashion and home in this collaboration of table accessories.
Two heads are better than one, went the famous adage. And in the case of a duo made up of design stalwarts Ito Kish and Rajo Laurel, this praise for the merits of partnership seems most appropriate. Coming together to create a capsule collection of table accessories marks the latest installment of Ito Kish’s Design Collaborations, which began when he re-opened shop in March 2020.
Friends for over twenty years, the pair have enjoyed immense success in their chosen fields, with their eponymous brands being household names. Kish is, of course, a noted interior and furniture designer whose innovative interpretation of Filipino motifs has resulted in a host of award-winning pieces that combine tradition with modernity. Meanwhile, as couturier to the stars and society’s swans, Laurel has also had his fair share of accolades for his fashion flair and business acumen.
Both designers have, in many ways, championed and expanded the lexicon of local design. “My design language is Filipino, and I can only design inspired by my heritage and culture. But I make sure to elevate it to be appreciated by a broader audience both here and abroad, young and old,” conveys Kish.
On the other hand, Laurel has long professed his love for the fashions of our heritage. “There’s something truly elegant and regal about our Philippine national dress,” he gushes on Instagram, where his many contemporary interpretations of the Terno and the Barong Tagalog can be admired. He’s also keen on finding new ways to evoke the essence of Filipino design, like in the case of the sculptural abaca-nylon wonders most recently seen on actress Dolly de Leon at the BAFTA’s and previously on the cover of Vogue Philippines’ maiden issue.
Apart from their frequent homages to our culture, another thing that binds them is their affinity for getting people together. “Rajo and I really loved collaborating on these pieces as we both love to entertain guests,” declares Kish of their table accessories line. Laurel concurs, maintaining that this was where the initial idea stemmed from. “I am very familiar with the Ito Kish vocabulary…I love that his design philosophy is very distinct, personal, and Filipino. I wanted to use his signature pieces and translate this into pieces that would enhance our dinner parties,” Laurel explains.
This has resulted in kaleidoscopic interpretations of the furniture creator’s Josefina lounge chair, its symmetry, and forms detailed in paper. Another placemat design bursts with constellations as a nod to light and Kish’s Rosario candelabra. The same carved silhouette of the Rosario is likewise embroidered onto a base of ivory, emerging as a line of table linens, runners, napkins, and coasters, blending the worlds of home and fashion.
This current collaboration is not the first time the two have worked together, with Laurel having also been an Artist-in-Residence back in 2003 at Kish’s Greenbelt store. Kish shares what he cherishes most about these projects: “It’s the learning process and what two creatives can come up with together, especially if from two diverse creative platforms.”
Further expounding on the concept of fruitful collaborations, Kish is currently working on two other projects: one with Toyo Eatery for the end of the year and another with Federico de Vera slated for next summer.
The collection will be available in-store and online at Itokish.com beginning March 10, 2023.