Is it Art or is it Furniture? Maybe It Shouldn't Matter

A new gallery by modern furniture brand Space Encounters blurs the lines between design disciplines.
IMAGE courtesy of Space Encounters

There's furniture you just sit on, and there's furniture that counts as art. Now there's a gallery that explores the intersection of the two design disciplines. 

The Space Encounters Gallery is an organic offshoot from interior design firm and mid-century modern furniture brand Space Encounters. The concept for this new, must-visit space was inspired by the local brand’s latest collection, The New Romantics, which consists of classical pieces mixed with mid-century modern and industrial elements. "The New Romantics collection unlocked our love for art. We started incorporating paintings into our projects, and we also started collecting art. The space that was just supposed to be an extension of the showroom became a gallery," says co-owner and gallery director Thor Balanon.

The Gallery is set in a 124-square meter area that was originally intended as an extension of the Space Encounters furniture showroom. Unlike other galleries, however, this space blurs the borders of design, so that you may find vignettes of mid-century modern furniture, vintage items, and art in its various forms. "The gallery is a bigger creative playground for us. We can make one-off furniture pieces to match an artist's work," says Balanon.


Don’t be surprised, for example, to find a tiny astronaut exploring the wooden realms of a decades-old altar from Bohol; or an escritoire (that's a writer's desk to you) surrounded by bucolic paintings. Each ensemble is carefully curated to showcase how each decorative element, when taken as a whole, can create a space that’s inviting and functional. It all demonstrates how accessible, versatile, and fun art should be.

Their debut exhibit is titled Collected Stories, featuring boldly colored art pieces that co-exist comfortably with Space Encounters' furniture. "Collected Stories is art we love. Most are from our personal collection, but we are also featuring a metal sculptor, Richard Buxani. Collected Stories is an introduction to how we want to integrate art with interior design," continues Balanon.

It all demonstrates how accessible, versatile, and fun art should be.

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Along with Richard Buxani's pieces, the exhibit also features works of abstract painters like Romulo Olazo and Alfredo Liongoren, realists Cesar Buenaventura and Loreto Racuya, and Dimasalang II artist Vincent Larosa, among others. Taking center stage are signed serigraphs of the masters like Mauro Malang Santos, Ang Kiukok, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Juvenal Sanso, Cesar Legaspi, and Fernando Zobel. Collected Stories runs from October 20 to November 11, 2017.


Next up for the gallery is a one-man show with artist Burn Aquino, who is one of the Filipino artists featured at the recently concluded Florence Bienniale. Aquino's exhibit will open mid-November.

Space Encounters Gallery is located on the 7th floor, Unit 7D, Padilla Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, 10am to 6pm on weekdays, and 11am to 5pm on Saturdays by appointment. Email [email protected] or call 0917-7956739 for inquiries.

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