It would be cheesy to note that Southeast Metro Arts rose from the ashes, but that is precisely the story. Blurring the line between art and furniture, this Manila FAME regular is internationally renowned for its catalogue of sleek, upscale homeware and furniture made from Mt. Pinatubo volcanic ash and stone. 

It started three years after the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. In the small town of Concepcion, Tarlac, riverside villages were blanketed in pyroclastic flow from the Sacobia River. The need to restart the economy prompted a project of transforming ash fall into handicrafts. Soon, Mt. Pinatubo survivors found themselves with a steady livelihood, casting and sculpting hope into every Southeast Metro Arts piece.

Collaboration with designers has led to Southeast Metro Arts’ characteristic streamlined and contemporary look. Many of its furniture are minimalist and chic, lending themselves well into minimalism du jour. Items from the Mythos collection, which will be showcased at Manila FAME, use the naturally sleek look of stonecast as the detail itself. The Mythos River Stone Bench is, quite simply, a beautiful block of stonecast, shaped into a smooth and stunning bench. The Mythos Organic Lounge Chair is just as polished, with a curved back for cozier seating.

Some of the available pieces take their cue from nature: banana blossom-shaped planters, water and leaf patterns on wall art, while others are kitschier, like a little stonecast monk bent to make a bench. 

In February, Southeast Metro Arts joined Ambiente, a famous trade fair for international consumer goods, in Frankfurt, Germany. Many other bazaars were lined up, until the pandemic put a stopper on largescale events. For now, potential customers may e-mail [email protected]. Visits to its Tarlac office may also be scheduled ahead of time.


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