Shortly after sunset on October 18, Wednesday, visionaries and innovators from the design world made their way to the glass-walled building at the corner of 30th Street and Rizal Drive in Bonifacio Global City. While the Furnitalia showroom is nestled at the heart of the bustling city and offers stunning views outside, attendees shifted their focus to the interior.
The venue, masterfully designed by space curator and stylist Glenn Cuevo, featured scenographic mirrors, curved glass tables, and an armchair sculpted from a single sheet of glass, all furniture courtesy of Fiam.
The spotlight also encompassed the works of renowned glass sculptor Ramon Orlina, regarded as the “Father of Philippine Glass Sculpture.” Among the showcased pieces were Flourishing, A Mother’s Double Joy, and Beacon, as well as paintings by national artists and masters, including Lao Lianben, HR Ocampo, Romulo Olazo, and Arturo Luz.
Hosted by the Italian brand in collaboration with BluPrint, the anniversary dinner celebrated Fiam’s 50-year design legacy with great panache. It was also a demonstration of BluPrint’s support for Furnitalia, underlining the significance of bringing a brand like Fiam, which not only contributes to the modern language of glass but also caters to Filipinos who value craftsmanship and meaningful design stories.
The World of Design
The evening’s hostess, Furnitalia co-founder Florence Ko, warmly welcomed her close friends and collaborators in the industry. This included Ed Calma, who admires Fiam’s “exploration of glass characteristics to create designs;” JJ Acuña, who describes Fiam as having “a retro vibe that endures timeless and classic nature of glass;” Royal Pineda, who expressed his aspiration for Fiam’s sculptural pieces translating modern Filipino architecture and design; Jason and Nikki Buensalido, who applaud the brand for “[advancing] the design excellence in the country;” Jorge Yulo; Dominic Galicia; Sudarshan Khadka; and Ivy and Cynthia Almario, among others. Also highlighted at the event was the presence of Fiam’s export area manager Francesco Livi, who is also the founder’s son.
“Seeing everyone gathered here today truly brings me so much joy,” Ko shared during opening remarks. “Even after two decades, I sometimes still can’t believe how Furnitalia has grown to represent and pave the way for design and architecture industries in the Philippines.”
Livi fondly recalled his initial meeting with Ko, which took place in front of a Caadre Mirror, saying, “I don’t know if Florence remembers, but the first thing she told me was, ‘We have a problem,’ and I answered, ‘Let’s find a solution together.’ That’s how we started working together.” Ko chuckled, adding her support to the statement, “We have more than just a supplier-customer relationship. When problems arise, I can truly feel that Livi is a partner. It’s a warm and collaborative relationship.”
As attendees raised their glasses, BluPrint’s Editor-In-Chief, Architect Geewel Fuster, expressed her appreciation: “Celebrations such as this wouldn’t be possible without collaborators, creatives, and innovators, including everyone gathered in this very space, who continue to strive for novelty and share their expertise from their respective fields.”
Fiam’s Five-Decade Story
Guests embarked on an elaborate eight-part journey, artfully displayed across the ground floor. Each section featured iconic pieces that trace Fiam’s five-decade history. Xavier Lust’s Graph Writing Desk, suspended on a curved glass base, defies its physical size by maintaining a minimalistic spirit. The Rialto Rectangular Coffee Table, a creation of CRS Fiam, shines with polished aluminum detailing at the base of its legs. Nearby, the Ponte Coffee Table by Angelo Cortesi gives the impression of lightness with a waterfall edge design.
Several Fiam pieces, curated by Glenn Cuevo, were on display at the venue during the 50th year celebration of the Italian brand.
Dispersed around the room are several other Fiam items that contribute to the language of glass. The sensuous Rosy Mirror by Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, framed in lacquered glass, adds a feminine touch to any wall. Meanwhile, the Phantom Mirror, a collaborative work between Helidon Xhixha and Dante O. Benini-Luca Gonzo, has molten glass elements reminiscent of the Phantom of the Opera mask. Philippe Starck’s Caadre Mirror with LED, framed in curved, back-silvered glass, stands boldly as a reflection of contemporary design. Setsu et Shinobu Ito’s Inori Bookcase carries a spiritual essence, with its hand-shaped support plates coming together in a pose reminiscent of a prayer. Marcel Wonders’ Echo Sideboard plays with light and shadows, its cast glass doors capturing and reflecting light in nuanced ways. To culminate the showcase, guests were introduced to the Ghost Chair, designed by Cini Boeri, an armchair sculpted from a single sheet of glass.
The latter piece holds significance, being a representation of Fiam worldwide for over 30 years. Livi shared the enduring appeal of the Ghost Chair, saying, “If you have the chance to try it, you’ll notice that [despite being] a piece of glass, it’s bent [in a way that] provides comfort. This is the base for every single product in our catalog.”
Artist Eloisa Igni showcased her talent as she did live paint portrait sessions with the guests.
Capping the celebrations was a heaving table of Italian fare curated by Cibo. As a special souvenir, a live-painted portrait by Eloisa Igni illustrates guests on the best seat in the house—the Ghost Chair. With the evening’s celebration of Fiam’s enduring glass craftsmanship and design philosophy, guests left with a shared vision of how these qualities can inspire modern Filipino design.