Interior and furniture designer Eric Paras takes visitors to another world when they visit his A-11 showroom. Its name derives its name from its house number in a Pasay City complex, famous for its remodeled post-war homes. The architecture provides the perfect backdrop with its huge windows, 11-foot-high ceiling, and Machuca tile floor, adorned with its signature hexagons, medallions, flowers and hearts.
Paras designs for Industria, a company he co-founded with Jude Tiotuico, specializing in metal furniture and accessories. Its signature weathered surface treatments, characterized by a textured, industrial and less refined feel, convey the brutalist aesthetic (think heavy proportions and burnt or oxidized metal). He balances the coldness of metal with the warmth of wood and natural materials, used in his furniture for his company, Artelano 11.
In furniture design, Paras favors rounded and irregular shapes and textured surface finishes. It is inspired by Art Deco and Mid-Century styles, imbued with a softer geometry and a modern aesthetic.
Visitors can learn about Paras’ decorating style by arranging furniture from Industria and Artelano 11 with decorative items, artwork, and vintage pieces from second-hand stores just like it would in a home. Interiors of the mid-century home are updated with bold red shelves, patterned folding dividers – a signature Paras, and touches of brutalist interior design elements.
“I’m not tied to a specific look. I want eclectic pieces to be mixed without being too showy. The charm lies in the subtlety and the decor should grow within you, ”he says.
One of these decors is the interplay of wood, metal, glass and fabric. A casual blue sofa, with bolsters to support your feet, serves as an anchor piece. It’s flanked by a stylized ambassador chair, updated with fluted tanguile instead of rattan, and a steel-framed tub chair that Paras says reminds him of the barbecue parilla.
The Resistance Piece is the artistic installation of black Czechoslovakian mouth-blown glass drops, a collaboration between Filipino industrial designer Stanley Ruiz and Czech glassmaker Jiri Pacinek. The floral print divider to match the Machuca tile highlights the masculinity of the rooms.
Paras artfully harmonizes mismatched dining chairs with matte textures and similar earth tones. Vintage narra square desk chairs from the 70s, upholstered in dark green imitation leather, clash with neoclassical, curved, tufted chairs from Atelier Almario. These chairs surround Paras’ brutalist-inspired dining table with reed top and legs, made by Artelano 11.
A spiral metal chandelier, designed by Tiotuico for Industria, balances period styles and gives the room a modern feel. Paras says Tiotuico challenged the toughness of the coil by wrapping it in a turban shape for a softer look. The metal has been oxidized to create a burnished surface.
In terms of decoration, one of Paras’ innovations is the sober surface treatment of Romblon marble. “Traditional marble is shiny, often used as nameplates on mayor’s tables. With our matte finishes, the handmade containers, small table lamps, and candle holders and flower stands have been popular with customers, ”he says.
When Paras bought books at a special sale, he enlisted housewives in Marikina to fold them into sculptures.
The mix of eras and styles keeps a space from looking too new.
“The part should not look like the result of a one-time purchase. It should appear as if it has evolved over time, ”he says.
Paras observes that while furniture sales in online marketplaces have increased throughout the pandemic, living with mass-produced furniture can be tedious.
“People search for the soul in objects. Our craftsmen make them in our factories, ”explains Paras.
He notes that before the pandemic, displays at the Filipino stand, which included Industria, at the Milan Furniture Fair would stand out from the high-end machine-made collections. Visitors would be impressed by the labor of love of Filipino artisans.
“A-11 thrived on the vision of presenting a furniture showroom as if it were a home. People say our work has heart, ”he says. -CONTRIBUTED