Staff, students, and guests packed the 12th floor gallery of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s Design and Arts Campus (DAC) for the opening of the “62 Icons: Milestones in Furniture Design from the Vitra Design Museum" exhibit on Oct. 13. The exhibit celebrates the classics of 19th, 20th, and 21st century furniture in miniature form, and features animated shorts made in collaboration with the College’s Animation program.
In cooperation with CWC Interiors, Benilde’s Center for Campus Art (CCA) spearheaded the unit’s first full-force exhibition since the beginning of the pandemic, housing iconic miniatures originating from the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. The collection consists of ⅙ scale models of world-renowned pieces of furniture, using the same material and construction techniques as their life-sized counterparts. The exhibit also provides more information regarding their origins, practical history, and how each piece differed during their respective time periods.
When asked to describe the event in one word, CCA Director and the exhibit’s curator Ar. Gerry Torres chose “iconic.” “These are the milestones—the highlights of furniture design in the past 150 years. That's why they're icons—they’re design icons,” he stated in an interview with The Benildean.
The exhibit gets its name from the 62 miniatures in the collection, ranging from the Gartenstuhl designed by German architect Karl Frederick Schinkel in 1820, all the way up to the Vegetal chair by Ronan and Erwan Touroullec, designed in 2008.
“These are really iconic designs in furniture. So much so that some of them are considered art forms—art already, not just furniture,” Benilde President Br. Edmundo “Dodo” Fernandez FSC stated in an interview with The Benildean. “Actually, CWC [Interiors] was the one that donated [the pieces.] [...] The donation [is valued at] ₱1.5 million, and we feel that it is going to be a resource for our design students.”
The CCA also partnered with the AB Animation program led by Program Chair Patrick Astilla and Dean Sharon Arriola to create animated shorts featuring the historic pieces of furniture. “Their amazing work is shown on screens alongside the chairs and provides a digital counterpart to the artifacts,” Ar. Torres expressed during his opening speech.
On the topic of the display pieces themselves, CWC Interiors President and CEO Mr. Fred Yuson remarked in an interview with The Benildean, “I donated the furniture [pieces] noh, pero the information that they put in—the research to represent what we donated is incredible.”
When asked about why CWC Interiors had chosen to partner with Benilde and CCA, Mr. Yuson answered that “Well, for one, I am a graduate of La Salle… And I believe that you guys are at the forefront of design and art. [...] We will be there to support other schools but we will prioritize Lasallian education.” He also hinted at possible plans to extend the partnership of the College with CWC by continuing to provide access to the company’s illustrative collection of furniture, especially to the students of related programs such as Interior Design and Industrial Design.
“I'm very excited to have these pieces here because it's a great educational tool for our students,” Ar. Torres imparted. “I've always known about the miniature collection, years ago... and I've always dreamt of having them for the school.”
“Now that it’s here and we own it, I'm very happy. I'm ecstatic because this is now something that we can share [with] the community permanently,” he continued.
“62 Icons: Milestones in Furniture Design from the Vitra Design Museum” is open on Mondays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., running until Dec. 17. The exhibit is available to all Benildean students, associates, and the general public.
For members of the public interested in visiting the “62 Icons,” you can register in advance and fill out the appointment form here.