You won’t believe how much I missed the old KISH showroom along Reposo Street in Makati. I missed the launches and the Christmas parties filled with friends and designers mingling around the glittery Christmas trees mixed into a heady setting of 18th-century Scandinavian furniture, silver vessels, russet-colored kilims and Fornasetti plates that winked at you.
I missed it so much that when I went furniture sourcing along Reposo earlier this year, I dropped by the two-storey duplex that was the former KISH showroom (and the former, beautiful, Budji Layug showroom) and saw that it was now a Chinese spa and sauna. 😦
Fast-forward to the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, while the rest of us were soaking up Kdramas and baking ube pan de sal at home, (the original!) visual storyteller Ito Kish was hatching his new KISH showroom, this time near the Rockwell center area.
Nestled amidst industrial-style warehouses along JP Rizal avenue, the new KISH showroom is a surprising in many ways, location notwithstanding. The element of surprise is immediately seen its main entrance, where guests (one can only visit by appointment only, with all the safety protocols in place) enter a pitch-black foyer, lit like a museum and curated like one. Here, in the middle display podium, choice artifacts that are actually decor are exhibited, carefully chosen by Ito himself. The designer mentions that the pieces displayed in this area would be from his recent travels, and only of things he takes deep inspiration from.
The surprises continue onto the main showroom floor, which is beautifully styled with a mix of Ito’s own designs and furnishings from all over the world. Located at one side of the space is a secret room–you draw the gray curtain, and a totally different collection of ornate, antique Scandinavian and European furniture and accessories is revealed.
To subtly (but stylishly) signal his return to design retail, Ito teamed up with Filip+Inna’s Len Cabili, pottery artist Joey de Castro, and Good Luck, Humans’ Apol Lejano to launch Ito Kish Retail Season 2. Each designer and artist’s collaboration with Ito is very KISH, yet each collaborator retains their own individual touch (I know that sounds strange, but that’s the only way I could explain it).
Like for example , Len Cabili incorporated dozens of indigenous handmade fabrics and embroideries that are her signature fashion style into the delicate balusters of Ito’s iconic Gregoria Chair. Joey de Castro topped the wicker base of table lamps with earthy pottery lampshades, a sharp, visual contrast of proportion and play. And Apol Lejano’s whimsically tufted lucky buttons nestled amidst moss becomes Hardin, tucked into the Art Deco lines of Ito’s Arellano vases.
The rest of the showroom is filled with delightful vignettes that showcase the impeccable visual merchandising and styling that every KISH store is known for. Each turn of the corner reveals yet another delightful travel find (100-year-old keys! Ceramic dog busts! Parisian objets!) mingling with mid-century modern and contemporary furniture. There truly is never a dull moment inside the store.
Visit KISH by appointment only, message them on Facebook or at mobile +63 917 182 0306. KISH is located at 1120 JP Rizal Avenue, Makati City.