Date posted: November 16, 2021

A Take On an Icon

Ten Filipino designers reimagine the Ishinomaki Stool, making the already iconic piece even more so

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Ishinomaki Laboratory, founded by award-winning Japanese architect and designer Keiji Ashizawa, its local partner, Lamana, collaborated with 10 notable Filipino artists to embellish a locally made Ishinomaki Stool.

The Ishinomaki Stool is one of the first products ever made by Ishinomaki Laboratory. Designed by Ashizawa, it was made to attend to the needs of displaced residents of Ishinomaki, Japan, who were then living in temporary housing after the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. A stool so iconic and symbolic that it has been welcomed into the permanent collection of the V&A Museum in 2015, it is made and offered locally in the Philippines by Lamana through Ishinomaki Laboratory’s initiative, Made in Local.

Ashizawa has been active in a wide range of various furniture brands—among them, Karimoku, MUJI, and Norm Architects—for product design projects, and Panasonic for product development and architecture projects. His designs have won various awards such as Good Design (top 100 and Special Award from the Chairman of JDP for Ishinomaki Laboratory) and AIA’s 2010 National Architecture Awards (for Wall House with Peter Stutchbury Architecture).

The iconic Ishinomaki Stool is part of the permanent collection of the V&A Museum and is produced and offered locally in the Philippines by Lamana, through Ishinomaki Laboratory’s initiative, Made in Local

The 10 local artists—Jason Buensalido, Carl Jan Cruz, Fitz Herrera, Gabriel Lichauco, Blok Magnaye, Liliana Manahan, Leeroy New, Eric Paras, Ryan Villamael, and Paloma Urquijo Zobel—reimagined the iconic stool. The sale proceeds of these one-of-a-kind versions of the Ishinomaki Stool will benefit the conservation efforts of Masungi Georeserve—a nod to the origin story of the Ishinomaki Lab brand. No portion of the sale proceeds from this project will go towards Lamana.

The auction date is scheduled for November 27 at 2:00pm (live and online). The full catalog (Under the Tree, The Wish List) is available at the Salcedo Auctions website. This auction is co-presented by Bid for the Future (BFF), a social enterprise under Salcedo Auctions that harnesses the power of art to solve global challenges.


(left) 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 embellished 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.

(right) Lilianna Manahan, “Le Copain”: Meaning “friend or buddy,” Le Copain focuses on the value of a friend especially in the times of crisis. Manahan combined two wood types, teak and tarch, 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.

(left) 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.

(right) 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.

(left) Jason Buensalido, “Continuum”: 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 the bright future ahead with free-form plywood.

(right) 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.

(left) 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/finishing, 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 of gel-like foam using his renowned style of stitching.

(right) 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 worked with different communities around the country and created a reversible cushion for the stool. One side is a colorful patchwork of custom weaves, and the other side is a more muted color of inabel. A vulnerable community in Mindoro hit hard by the pandemic created friendship bracelets as a way to tie down the cushion onto the stool.

(left) 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 in one small planet.”

(right) 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 through his years of material manipulation, the stool gains a colorful makeover.


To register as a bidder or view the pieces, you may contact Salcedo Auctions at [email protected] or 09171075581. Please send Lamana a message for a special access as an online bidder for these particular pieces. /


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