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‘Genteel’ artist poised to bring bespoke PH furniture to the world

Pampanga-based bespoke furniture design and artisanal studio Genteel Home marked a significant milestone on July 13 as it celebrated its 10th anniversary with the inauguration of its first and newest atelier in Metro Manila at the Podium Mall in Mandaluyong City.

Genteel Home’s founder and principal designer Katrina de LeonGenteel Home’s founder and principal designer Katrina de Leon

Genteel Home’s founder and principal designer Katrina de Leon

De Leon with SM Supermalls president Steven Tan and fashion icon Heart EvangelistaDe Leon with SM Supermalls president Steven Tan and fashion icon Heart Evangelista

De Leon with SM Supermalls president Steven Tan and fashion icon Heart Evangelista

Founded by the proudly Kapampangan licensed interior designer and Genteel Home's principal designer, Katrina de Leon, the special twin celebration turned out to be a three-fold occasion, what with the lady of the moment also marking her birthday.

It was all serendipitous, really, since the well-appointed atelier at the mall's fourth level serves as the springboard for the celebrant's birthday wish. That is, to bring Pampanga's rich furniture-making tradition to the forefront of the industry while allowing Katrina to share her artistry and the joy of owning personalized home pieces with a broader market of clients.

Taking inspiration from Evangelista’s delicate beauty, artistic personality and hectic lifestyle, de Leon designed an oversized baby pink canopied solihya armchair.Taking inspiration from Evangelista’s delicate beauty, artistic personality and hectic lifestyle, de Leon designed an oversized baby pink canopied solihya armchair.

Taking inspiration from Evangelista’s delicate beauty, artistic personality and hectic lifestyle, de Leon designed an oversized baby pink canopied solihya armchair.

A graduate of the Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID), Katrina disclosed to The Manila Times Lifestyle that her foray into furniture design and manufacture also stemmed from personal reasons.

“It was 10 years ago that a good friend of mine convinced me to design a few special pieces of furniture for her new home that would reflect her personality,” she related.

Katrina said she understood exactly what her friend meant because she grew up in an ancestral house in Pampanga where every piece of furniture — all beautifully made from solihiya — had a story to tell in connection to her family history.

Such are the pieces that make a house a home, indeed, that more and more friends continued seeking her expertise for accent pieces and even entire sets for their living rooms, bedrooms and other personal spaces.

The turn of events ignited Katrina's passion for the intricate art of making furniture all the more, propelling the birth of the Genteel Home brand, which now meets her commissioned work from two massive workshops in Pampanga.

“Our goal at Genteel Home is for [our clients] to feel seen and understood [and their] desires brought to Life because [our brand] is an embodiment of all that is personal, touching and inspiring. This is what we proudly showcase here at our newest design atelier — an open invitation for anyone to step in and have a piece of furniture uniquely designed for them,” she emphasized.

Beyond the unique experience Genteel Home brings clients through bespoke furniture, Katrina proudly said her enterprise also distinguishes itself as a conscious brand.

Community is an essential part of her day-to-day operations, having seen how Genteel Home has become a constant source1 of livelihood for Pampanga's wealth of talented woodworkers and their families in the last 10 years. Naturally, as a chain reaction, her commitment to her clients and to her craftsmen significantly contributes to keeping the province's age-old wood carving and weaving traditions alive and passed on from one generation to the next.

Over the last 10 years, clients have been seeking de Leon’s expertise in designing accent pieces and even entire sets for their personal spaces. At the new Podium atelier, she will regularly be available for one-on-one design consultations to come up with the best bespoke furniture for a wider clientele.Over the last 10 years, clients have been seeking de Leon’s expertise in designing accent pieces and even entire sets for their personal spaces. At the new Podium atelier, she will regularly be available for one-on-one design consultations to come up with the best bespoke furniture for a wider clientele.

Over the last 10 years, clients have been seeking de Leon’s expertise in designing accent pieces and even entire sets for their personal spaces. At the new Podium atelier, she will regularly be available for one-on-one design consultations to come up with the best bespoke furniture for a wider clientele.

“We likewise place great importance in sustainability,” Katrina went on, sharing how Genteel Home has invested in a Mahogany farm to ensure that for every piece of furniture she designs and executes, the trees used are replenished.

Given this solid and holistic set of business principles in taking Genteel Home to its next decade, Katrina leveled up on her birthday wish and declared how she hopes to make it to the global circuit of furniture design and manufacture and ultimately shine the spotlight on Filipino craftsmanship.

From the pieces now on view at the Podium atelier, not to mention her guests of honor at the store opening, it certainly looks like Katrina is well on her way toward her next big step.

During the event, she presented an iconic chair specially created for the international and proudly Filipina fashion icon Heart Evangelista.

Taking inspiration from the celebrity's delicate beauty, artistic personality and hectic lifestyle, Katrina designed an oversized baby pink canopied solihya armchair, which Heart immediately said, “This is something that I would definitely love to have.”

After signing her name on the chair's pedestal, she added, “Life is too short, and you just really want to live [it] as fully as possible. But at the end of the day, you also want a home that is peaceful; that feels full of love, and Genteel Home's furniture does reflect that. So I'd definitely choose something like this that would calm the soul.”

Also present at the opening to share ribbon-cutting duties with Heart was global retail expert and SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, who told Katrina, she couldn't have chosen a better muse for her furniture than the multi-talented artist.

“There is a clamor for Heart across different brands around the world,” he affirmed. “She really is the perfect choice.”

In the evening, Genteel Home continued its celebration by unveiling five more iconic chairs inspired by Filipino icons who have left an indelible mark in their respective fields. Held over a dinner party at Manila House, Katrina showed the pieces she made for Olympic Gold Medalist Hidilyn Diaz, former Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, box-office comedy star Vice Ganda, award-winning broadcast journalist Karen Davila and multi-awarded actor and singer Piolo Pascual.

In introducing them, Katrina said, “I am proud to say that every bespoke masterpiece meticulously crafted by Genteel Home holds a story, a narrative that transcends time and connects generations.

“It's a tale of love, joy and memories, waiting to be shared and treasured by your loved ones in the years to come.

“We don't just create furniture; we create milestones and legacies. We believe that the objects we surround ourselves with shape our lives and leave a lasting impact.”

Without a doubt Katrina de Leon — with her gift of art, her caring heart and patriotism–has everything it takes to make all her wishes for Genteel Home come true. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary, and Godspeed in the next 10.

*****
Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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