Design Destination: Cebu, Philippines

When looking through the eyes of Vito Selma, we see the beauty of a faraway land that serves as pure inspiration for his innovative, handcrafted design.  Cebu, the oldest city in the Philippines, is home to a number of global furniture makers, quickly making it a burgeoning design hub.

After traveling the world to pursue an education in design and work with notable industrial designers, Vito Selma returned to this sacred city to launch his independent label. Named the 7th best island destination in the Indian Ocean-Asia region in 2007 by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine, we asked the designer to give us a personal tour of this unexpected design destination.

 

What areas of the Philippines should people visit, and why? 

Being a country made of 7,107 islands, you can never run out of places to visit. However, there are some places you shouldn’t miss out on when traveling across our archipelago. Siargao, Cebu, Palawan and Boracay should definitely be on your list of places to see. Each of these islands offer something so different and special to their visitors.

 

What is the best time to travel to the Philippines and why? 

The Philippines is generally sunny year-round. However, the “BER” months are best to avoid, it’s known to be our rainy season. These months are from September to December

 

Why did you choose to locate your business in Cebu?

I was born and raised in Cebu. A city known to be the “Milan of Asia”, It is a bustling city for design and manufacturing. It felt only natural to have my studio and factory based here.

 

How does the region inspire your design?

My inspirations always begin with the exploration of a certain material, discovering and playing around with its limits. With Cebu being in the center of the entire country, we have materials from all over being imported. So, Cebu has given me the opportunity to expand my inspirations and playgrounds of materialogy.

 

Aside from production, how is the local design industry growing and shifting?

I feel like the local design industry is at its best. The country is currently one of Asia’s fasted growing markets and it shows. 70% of our work in the studio, are projects based in the Philippines. We do everything from restaurants to an entire shopping mall. 

 

What’s next for the Vito Selma brand?

Currently we have many exciting projects and products that will be launching in the coming months. One of them is the collaboration of my studio with YOO by Philippe Starck. I was fortunate enough to design and manufacture every product in Aqua Boracay, the first branded resort residences and five-star YOO Collection hotel on the tropical island of Boracay, Philippines. Working with the Starck Studio and developing products for this hotel and residential project has been a highlight of my design career.

Tell Us Your  Local Favorites…

Hotels:

Amanpulo in Palawan, Shangri-La in Cebu, Balesin Island

Restaurants:

Blackbird in Makati City, Antonio’s in Tagaytay, Z Bar in Cebu

Shopping for the home:

A11 in Pasay City, Blue Carreon Home in Makati City, KISH in Makati City,

Must-see historical or natural landmarks:

The Banaue Rice Terraces, Intramuros, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

Other notable experiences:

Swim with Whale Sharks in Cebu, Canyoneering in Cebu, Island hopping in Palawan

Check out a few of Selma's top selling pieces, that are sold exclusively in the US by Oggetti Designs. Shop the collection here: http://oggettidesigns.com

The High and Low Alegra Chairs

 

The Arata Lounge

 

The Geo Cocktail Table

 

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