Finali Furniture’s Flower Power
Among the selected products in this year’s Best of MOM, the digital platform of Paris trade show Maison et Objet, is a lamp proudly made in Cebu
by Nana Caragay
As the world begins to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person trade shows are slowly but cautiously making a comeback, complemented by digital platforms expanding the experience in this work-from-home age. Among these is the recently concluded Maison & Objet, held last September 9 to 13.
In the midst of the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre was a curated selection of the Best of MOM, products that had caught the eye of some of the biggest design names and the show’s own trend team. These were the standouts among those participating in the corresponding online edition, Maison et Objet and More, or MOM. The trade show’s virtual counterpart has become an alternate platform, particularly significant as travel restrictions pose a challenge for in-person participation among international brands. And this year, nestled in between the Basalto coffee tables from Italy’s ImperfettoLab and Cider Edition of France’s Gommette divider screens, sat a perfectly sculpted lighting fixture handcrafted in Mandaue City, Cebu: the Fiori Lamp by Finali Furniture from the Philippines.
Finali Furniture’s Fiori Lamp, designed by Angelo Cadungog is one of two homegrown designs that made it to the most recent edition of Best of MOM (Maison et Objet and More). Cadungog designed the lamp as an accompanying piece to the Fiore Accent Chair
“Part of the inspiration is taken from nature and organic shapes, which are pleasing to a space,” says designer Angelo Cadungog. Nature is a theme that often pops up in his work—the looping, twisted arms and legs of the Largo Couch is his tribute to the ocean’s waves, while the Fiori Lamp was initially created as an accompanying piece to the similarly named Fiore Accent Chair. “I was asked to complement our chair for a lifestyle setting during the Ambiente show,” he says, referring to another esteemed trade fair held in Frankfurt, Germany.
Looking at the rattan seat’s gracefully curved base, it’s easy to see the bones of what would later become the Fiori lamp. Swap in a lightbulb as centerpiece in the velvet cushion’s place, and it becomes something else entirely—a curious object that casts long, hypnotic lines on the walls once it’s lit from within. “I wanted it to be a multifunctional piece—an art piece and a decorative piece,” Cadungog says.
It succeeds on both counts, as the Fiori Lamp captured the attention of Jessica Barouch, the interior designer and curator behind Paris’s Jessica Art Gallery. It was her pick to stand alongside the 20-plus products in this edition’s Best of MOM, which also includes a baking mold from Marumitsu Poterie in Japan, a leather armchair from Portuguese brand Duistt, punk-inspired vases from Somos Design of Germany, and one other product from the Philippines, Zarate Manila’s Cheque Bench.
First Secretary Christina Rola McKernan of Philippine Embassy and Director and Commercial Counsellor Froilan Pamintuan of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center pose before the Fiori Lamp, during the opening day of the recently concluded Maison et Objet fair (photo from the Paris Philippine Embassy site)
Cadungog’s goal was to create a multifunctional piece—an art piece and a decorative piece in one—and he did just that with the Fiori Lamp
But the Fiori stands apart for its obvious evocation of nature, molded carefully by hand out of rattan. This shows a mastery of “material manipulation… bringing it to a different level considering it’s been in the furniture industry for so long,” says Cadungong. The name Fiori, after all, comes from the Italian word for flower, and when it sits on the floor, it calls to mind the shape of a flower in full bloom. The real magic begins, however, when it transforms in the dark into its one-object shadow play, once the strategically situated center bulb illuminates the petals emanating from its stem.
Cadungog promises that Finali will be producing more nature- and organic-themed, furniture-as-art pieces in the future, as he draws constantly from his beautiful surroundings in Cebu. But for now, he is savoring the high that comes with being named as one of the legendary French trade show’s best. “It was honestly an unexpected surprise,” he admits. “But I’m very thankful and honored, especially in these pandemic times, when every inch of our body craves inspiration and positivity.”
Photos courtesy of Finali Furniture and Philippine Embassy Paris website