10 Powerful Artists Create Pieces to Save Masungi Georeserve

Their work will go under the gavel at Salcedo Auctions. 

Japan's Ishinomaki Laboratory, which creates simple yet iconic pieces of furniture, is 10 years old. To mark the occasion, its local partner, Lamana, has collaborated with 10 notable Filipino artists to embellish a locally made Ishinomaki Stool. Their creations will go under the gavel at Salcedo Auctions on November 27. 

As the Ishinomaki Lab brand was born out of a natural disaster, its owners and Lamana decided to support an organization that protects nature. The sale proceeds will benefit the conservation efforts of Masungi Georeserve. No portion of the sale proceeds from this project will go towards Lamana.


Masungi Georeserve is an award-winning geotourism site threatened by quarrying companies and land grabbers. 

The georeserve is run and protected by sisters Ann and Billie Dumaliang, who are Masungi Georeserve’s project manager and trustee, respectively. Back in February 2021, the Dumaliang sisters were named among the five winners of Vanity Fair’s 2021 Changing Your Mind Travel Awards. Ann is also a National Geographic Explorer and a Regional Finalist for Young Champions of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Because of Masungi, rare and endemic species of wildlife are slowly returning to the area. 

Dwarf Kingfisher Sighted in Masungi Georeserve


The Artists and their Work

Jason Buensalido - Continuum 

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Believing that design and architecture is a response to context, architect Jason Buensalido wants his designs to be forward-looking. Knowing about the story of Ishinomaki Laboratory has allowed him to appreciate and understand the simplicity of the products. Ten years on from the devastating tsunami, Buensalido wanted to illustrate with free-form plywood the bright future ahead.

Carl Jan Cruz - Untitled 


Fashion designer Carl Jan Cruz’s contemporary Filipino style carries a nostalgic quality to it. Wanting to create something that can represent and marry the idea of tradition and unusual composition/finishings, Cruz worked with Therese Regalado of ware-co to darken the finish of the stool to complement the rib “gabao” fabric. He then created a cushion made out of a gel-like foam with his renowned style of stitching. 


Fitz Herrera - Different But The Same



Influenced by music, Fitz Herrera is known for his abstract impasto work. Herrera wanted the stool to represent the Earth and the acrylic paint to represent all of us. “We are all different by race and color of skin but we are all human beings on one small planet.” 


Gabriel Lichauco - Corner Store 


Aiming to keep the Ishinomaki Stool’s design as pure as possible while injecting subtle references to local craft, designer Gabriel Lichauco worked with E.Murio to add elements to the stool. Torched and curved rattan embellish the legs, blurring the line between Japanese and Filipino design. The seat of the stool also underwent a torched finish, resembling the common seat one finds at a neighborhood corner store. 


Blok Magnaye - Caïssa 


Illustrator Blok Magnaye, whose clients include Facebook, Apple, The Atlantic and The Guardian, wanted to preserve the Ishinomaki Stool’s iconic form and transcend it into something more. Painting a chessboard on the stool’s seat in Magnaye’s usual, bold color palette, the stool is not only form and function, but it also becomes an activity. A complete set of handmade, hand-painted wooden chess pieces are included. 


Lilianna Manahan - Le Copain 



Meaning “friend or buddy,” Le Copain focuses on the value of a friend especially in the times of crisis. Manahan put two wood types, Teak and Larch, together in their natural finish to create the stool. Le Copain is made of casted brass and sits atop the stool as a reminder that no matter the situation, someone is there for you. 


Leeroy New - Toad Stool 


Contemporary artist and designer Leeroy New has work all over the metro. His most recent piece graced the Busan Biennale. Known for assemblage sculpture - the incorporation of everyday objects into the art - New continues this technique with the Ishinomaki Stool. He uses metal, paint, and fiberglass rods to create a spinning mushroom-like canopy over the stool. 


Eric Paras - Cavoo 


Inspired by his hairless Xolo dog named Cavoo who kept him company during the lockdowns of the pandemic, interior and furniture designer Eric Paras transformed the Ishinomaki Stool into a fun, four-legged companion. Its head is made of metal that will oxidize over time. 


Ryan Villamael - ‘frag-m?nts 


Garnering a nickname from his first solo exhibit entitled “Cut Felt” more than 10 years ago, artist Ryan Villamael wanted to emphasize the craftsmanship of the Ishinomaki Stool while working with his own design idea. Using patches of off cuts of felt collected throughout the years of material manipulation, the stool gains a colorful makeover. 



Paloma Urquijo Zobel - Untitled


Seeing a parallelism between the storytelling power of the Ishinomaki Stool and how weaving can also tell stories, PIOPIO’s founder Paloma Urquijo Zobel created a reversible cushion for the stool involving different communities around the country. One side is a colorful patchwork of custom weaves, and the other side a more muted color of Inabel. A vulnerable community in Mindoro hit hard by the lockdowns of the pandemic created friendship bracelets as a way to tie down the cushion onto the stool. 

The full catalog (Under the Tree, The Wish List) is available at the Salcedo Auctions website. Auction date is November 27 at 2:00pm (live and online). To register as a bidder or view the pieces please contact Salcedo Auctions at [email protected] or 09171075581. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of SPIN.ph as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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