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Come for the couch, leave with a wooden bike: a guy’s guide to Manila FAME

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions’ bi-annual trade show is a hunting ground for industry buyers and design enthusiasts. But what’s in it for the guy looking to furnish his man cave?
ANC-X | Oct 17 2018

“In Europe, I know some statistics—almost 90 percent of the decisions for the home are made by women,” says Detlef Klatt, the German home accessories designer who, by default, becomes the de facto male spokesperson at the media preview for Manila FAME. The country’s premier trade show will once again be opening its doors at the World Trade Center from Oct. 19 to 21, making it the go-to weekend destination for eagle-eyed design enthusiasts and trade buyers on the lookout for the next big thing. “Even if the man thinks he made the decision, in the end, it was the wife guiding him that way,” he quips.    

In the October 2017 edition of Manila FAME, Design Center’s Bamboo+ project showcased over 70 modern, commercially-driven, and trendy products that evoke playfulness and personal healing. 

Still, there is plenty to look forward to at the twice-yearly show, known to be a launchpad and showcase for Filipino design names who have made it big on the global stage. Regulars on the roster are Aranaz de Lujo, whose pieces can be found on Moda Operandi and Vogue, and Stonesets International Inc., creative directed by Vito Selma (Nelson Mandela was said to be a patron of his work). 

Ceiling light by Artisans Village

“The guys can look forward to finding really beautiful Philippine products that he’ll be proud of, if he’s Filipino,” designer Tes Pasola chimes in, “while foreigners and visitors will be happy to find something, or a lot of things, that maybe they’ve not seen before.” Pasola could be referring to Bamboo Extreme 2.0, a high-concept presentation starring the ever-sturdy material. Here, Bambike Revolution Cycles makes use of it as the body of a durable and easily assembled miniature scoot bike called “Bambino,” perfect for kids. There’s also the bicycle with a passenger sidecar or “Eco-Padyak,” a reimagining of the Filipino commuting staple, the pedicab. Perhaps most jaw-dropping of all would be the Green Falcon, a motorcycle whose body is fashioned entirely out of bamboo. 

“When you finally see that Falcon,” says Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) Executive Director Pauline Juan, “the innovations used for that, the design… these are things that I think guys will appreciate, as well as girls.” 

Newly appointed CITEM executive director Pauline Juan

With this edition of FAME, Juan makes her debut with CITEM, the promotion arm of the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry. It’s only been a couple of months since the former magazine editor-in-chief and longtime passionate supporter of Filipino designers took office, and she’s making her mark by helping usher the Asia-Pacific region’s second longest-running trade show into the digital age. At the press preview, it is announced that the Manila FAME website will now be hosting a microsite called Touchpoint, featuring in-depth stories behind the featured brands. Juan hopes it will serve as a way by which attendees will continue to connect and keep tabs on the exhibitors who caught their eye, long after the booths have packed up and until the next showcase is mounted. 

This October, the Manila FAME App will also be introduced, putting easy access to the 350-plus exhibitors right at your fingertips. This, Juan points out, will be a particularly handy tool for the men who don’t want to spend the whole day aimlessly wandering the World Trade Center’s halls, or who find themselves accompanying someone who might be, shall we say, more easily distracted. 

“My tip is, you have to kind of use the app so you can steer your girl toward what you want to see,” she suggests with a laugh. “If that’s your tactic, you can use it to scope out how you want to navigate the show.” 

Still, Juan guarantees there will be so much to discover and a whole lot of interesting finds worthy of your attention, if you’re willing to lose yourself among the myriad booths and displays. “It’s a nice experience to see Pinoy creativity and designers, and it’s a great opportunity for sourcing if you’re in that particular type of business. Pinoy companies are very adept at customizing… to be able to customize designs is a strength that happens within the roster of furniture manufacturers we have.” 

Come for a couch, leave with a made-to-measure motorcycle made entirely out of wood—sounds like a pretty decent way to spend a Saturday afternoon.     

Manila FAME runs from 9am to 7pm starting Friday, October 19 until Sunday, October 21 at the World Trade Center, Sen. Gil J. Puyat Ave., Pasay City. Register at manilafame.com.