From bakya to chandeliers: The story of Palayan Lamps 2
Palayan Lamps founder Purificacion Lucero at their first store in A. Mabini Street, Ermita, Manila. (Right) Capiz-and-crystal chandeliers at CCP. Photos courtesy of Palayan Lamps

The couple behind CCP’s iconic chandeliers were bakya makers first

The 68-year old lighting company just launched a new collection. Here’s a look back at its sparkly history
ANCX Staff | Oct 28 2022

It’s impossible to be at the main lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and not steal a glance of the stunning capiz-and-crystal chandeliers that light up the space. Ever wondered who made them? They were designed by the Hong Kong-based Dale Keller and Associates in collaboration with National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin. But the guys who translated their vision to reality, creating those three hanging, sparkling jewels and installing them? That would be the guys behind Palayan Lamps. 

Chi Spa at Edsa Shangri-La
Capiz pendant light Chi, The Spa at Edsa Shangri-La

Palayan is also behind a long list of notable, familiar works: the glass tree light at Manila Diamond Hotel’s Yurakuen Restaurant, the capiz pendant light at Chi, The Spa at Edsa Shangri-La, the resin pendant light at Anvaya Beach and Nature Club in Bataan, and the wrought iron rose chandeliers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, in Montecito, Nuvali City, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. It also manufactured and installed the chandelier at the Philippine Center in Manhattan, New York.

A pioneer in decorative lighting in the Philippines, Palayan Lamps has come a long way since it was founded in 1954 by Edmundo Lucero, an architect, and his wife Purificacion, a school teacher. But back in the 1940s, the couple were actually in the business of making wooden clogs or bakya. The woodworking skill proved handy in the production of hand-carved lamps.

glass tree light at Manila Diamond Hotel’s Yurakuen Restaurant
Glass tree light at Manila Diamond Hotel’s Yurakuen Restaurant

The Luceros started out with hand-crafted table lamps in their house cum workshop on A. Mabini St. in Ermita, Manila. The operation later evolved to making ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, and exterior lights.

wrought iron rose chandeliers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel
Wrought iron rose chandeliers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel.

When “Oriental” design became popular in the 1950s, this led the business to create lighting fixtures made of indigenous raw materials such as capiz and other seashells, stones, hand-woven fabrics like abaca and pineapple cloth (piña), rattan and bamboo, tooled brass, animal horn, and local hardwoods. Palayan grew even more as it incorporated imported raw materials from Europe, the US, Japan, and China.

Later on, Purificacion began to collect glass luminaires from the mid-century era. The Palayan matriarch built her collection with pieces from glass works across Europe, which would later include notable pieces from prominent names in the post-war era—Peill & Putzler and Glaschute Limburg from Germany, Kastrup Glasværk of Denmark, Littala of Finland, and even some from Venini of Italy. 

Palayan Lamps
Palayan Lamps recently lauched new pieces at their showroom in Tesoro’s Building, Pasay Road. 

Purificacion’s hand-picked pieces became the inspiration for the 68-year-old company to design a new collection of pendant lights and table lamps in metal, glass and ceramic. Launched recently at the Palayan showroom at the Tesoro’s Building in Pasay Road, the new pieces are a reminder of the founders’ legacy as well as proof of the timeless allure of midcentury design. Finally, it’s a testament, too, to the staying power of a brand built on good taste and impeccable workmanship. 

Visit the Palayan Lamps showroom at 2nd Floor Tesoro's Building 1016 Arnaiz Ave., Makati City

Photos courtesy of Palayan Lamps