Sunday, April 21, 2024

Filipino Designer Merges European And Filipino Cultures In Italian-Made Bag


Filipino Designer Merges European And Filipino Cultures In Italian-Made Bag


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Budding multidisciplinary designer PJ Almera showcased the bold and contemporary juxtaposition of European Romanesque architecture and Filipino craftsmanship in a leather maxi bag.

Dubbed as ARCO, it was specially made for Up To You Anthology’s Design-Your-Bag competition, wherein it emerged as the top winner.

This novel piece marks the young creative’s name as the first Filipino to collaborate with the innovative Italian brand Up To You (UTY) Anthology. He joins renowned global visionaries Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield, Nendo, Naoto Fukasawa, Vincent Van Duysen, and Giulio Cappellini.

ARCO channels Almera’s manifesto to create an unconventional approach through intensive research, brainstorming, and an emotional release of creative explorations.

Conceptualized with freedom and a limitless lifestyle in mind, it is an ideal company for equally versatile style aficionados on-the-go, as it comes with detachable straps, metal handles, and a leather grip.

It likewise features an inner lining, as well as slit and zipped pockets. Color options range from red and black, to the posh white chocolate. It is complete with the signature UTY dust bag designed by graphic icon Lissoni Graphx.

An homage to both far-distanced regions, the fashion statement features arched cut-outs in rattan, a material abundant in the tropical rainforests of the Philippines. It was made with genuine European cowhide handcrafted by the best artisans in Italy.

Equipped with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) in Manila and a master’s degree in Contemporary Interior Design from the Instituto Marangoni-Milano Design School in Milan, the licensed architect has embraced the various principles in arts, new media, and design fields.

He has turned to the discipline and practice of constructing buildings to encapsulate his exhilarating journey. “Architecture portrays history and heritage in a very sophisticated way while showcasing the uniqueness of each culture through intricate and distinct details,” he explained.

“Arches, in particular, have since been a staple language in my design. I treat it as an important element that gives meaning and wonder instead of just being a faddish shape,” he added.

“I chose rattan or solihiya as one of my main materials to mimic the different tropical identities in both Asia and Europe. This is to celebrate the wonder of artisanal creations,” he explained. “We have different cultures but we share a passion for creativity and resourcefulness,” he beamed.

Almera is the founder of Studio Almera, where he serves as the creative director and designer for diverse interior, creative, and branding projects. He is also the founder, trend director, and creative director of ACIIID, an interdisciplinary research and development platform for contemporary design trends. He is the co-founder and co-design director of his new venture Wandr, where he delves into multi-disciplinary design and art focusing on ephemerals and objects.

Currently, he pursues his advocacy to amplify aesthetic visions for architecture and space as an educator at Benilde School of Environment and Design (SED).

Almera is presently gearing up for the release of the ARCO Mini Collection next year.