Second-gen leaders continuing the legacy of fine craftsmanship in Pampanga
The province of Pampanga, situated north of the bustling metropolis of Metro Manila, is renowned for its rich heritage and culinary delights. A province filled with generations of craftsmen and designers, Pampanga is a touchstone of the Philippines’ design industry. Many of the country’s best brands hail from Pampanga, only an hour’s drive away from Metro Manila, who continue to serve local and export markets with its finely crafted pieces and manufacturing expertise.
However, Pampanga found itself thrust into the international spotlight almost three decades ago during the Mount Pinatubo eruption of 1991, leaving behind a trail of destruction that scarred both the land and its outlying areas.
Yet, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Pampanga emerged from the depths of despair, driven by the resilient spirit of its people. Bolstered by a community of skilled artisans, woodworkers, and craftsmen, Pampanga has regained its status as a premier manufacturing hub for furniture and accessories. In this article, we explore the brands leading the charge in Pampanga's resurgence as a design capital, breathing life into the region's creative legacy.
Calfurn: Mastering the Art of Weaving
The Calfurn aesthetic, well-known for its precision and flawless craftsmanship, beckons viewers to pause and take a closer look. From a distance, one might mistake their pieces for machine-generated works, thanks to the cool and sleek appearance of their traditional weaving method. Closer inspection reveals intricacy of traditional handweaving, a craft that spans hours of dedication, expertise, and passion.
Calfurn has honed this craft throughout the years, having been founded in 1976 by Eredito Feliciano and counted American upscale brands Neiman Marcus and Macy’s among its clientele. With second-generation leader Paolo Feliciano now at the helm, Calfurn continues to serve its export market while remaining committed to fresh, contemporary, and innovative designs.
What sets Calfurn apart is the brand’s unwavering commitment to research and development, a process that results in the manifestation of weaving patterns and unique silhouettes. Each piece represents a journey of innovation, with various finishing techniques and indigenous materials employed to create these stunning works.
The weaving patterns themselves are a testament to the craftsmanship that defines Calfurn. From closely woven patterns to various types of mesh and fine twills, each piece is a labor-intensive masterpiece. The team behind Calfurn continuously seeks to push the boundaries of their craft, constantly sourcing new indigenous materials, innovating their core materials, and creating fresh patterns. Insights gleaned from this process inform future productions, ensuring that each piece carries with it a legacy of excellence.
Maze Furniture: Crafting Cultural Inspirations
Based in Angeles Pampanga, Maze Furniture is a company that has made a name for itself in producing export-ready furniture and décor pieces, specializing in classical ornate furniture. Their handcrafted creations, known for their exceptional quality, have found favor in the Middle East, which serves as the company's primary market.
While Maze initially focused on weaving, the brand has since embarked on a journey of experimentation, exploring a diverse array of materials such as terracotta, ceramics, and, notably, metal. This diversification has allowed them to create eye-catching designs that draw inspiration from cultures spanning Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Maze Furniture's pieces are not limited to any single category; they produce a wide range of items, including home furnishings, accent pieces, mirrors, lighting, and home accessories. Each creation is marked by its exquisite craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail, showcasing a harmonious blend of artistry and functionality.
Pampanga's Creative Renaissance: A Testimony of Resilience
In revisiting the evolution of Pampanga's creative industry, it becomes evident that adversity can be a catalyst for reinvention and renewal. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo served as a turning point, igniting a creative spark among these visionary brands.
With companies such as Calfurn and Maze Furniture leading the charge for a resurgence in design and creativity, Pampanga has risen from its ashes, proudly reclaiming its status as a design capital. Each brand represents a unique facet of this resurgence, offering a glimpse into the diverse talents and artistic expressions that define the region.
Calfurn weaves its magic through intricate patterns and handwoven craftsmanship. Their dedication to research and development ensures that their creations not only capture the eye but also embody the essence of labor-intensive artistry.
Meanwhile, Maze Furniture draws from a rich tapestry of cultural inspirations, crafting pieces that resonate with global audiences. Their willingness to experiment with various materials has allowed them to redefine classical ornate furniture, infusing it with a modern twist that appeals to a broad spectrum of tastes.
The triumph of creativity in Pampanga is a success story of the enduring power of resilience and the indomitable spirit of its people. The province’s journey from devastation to design excellence is a testament to the resilience of communities in the face of adversity. These brands represent a new renaissance in a design capital but also the enduring power of creativity to transcend challenges and redefine the future.