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Ken Samudio creates Fritz Hansen work space

How to create vibrant energy using iconic designs—the only Filipino designer hailed by Vogue Italia shows how

Ken Samudio at his Fritz Hansen creative space

Organized chaos—this best describes accessories designer Ken Samudio’s work space. “My color palette is mostly black, but I love the use of colors when it comes to creating my accessories,” Samudio said. That is why we let him explore the newly renovated Fritz Hansen Lounge in Bonifacio High Street in Taguig.

The creative space designed by Jaime Hayón (Photo by Luis Carlo San Juan)

The part of the showroom that attracted him was this unique workspace with pale rose walls, shelves with organic curves, all designed by Spanish-artist designer Jaime Hayon, who does collaborations with Fritz Hansen. Hayon, born in Madrid in 1974, grew up submerged in skateboard culture and graffiti art, the detailed imagery that’s so whimsical in his body of work an apparent hark-back to those years.

Hayon’s work has been featured in the world’s leading art and design publications, and has won him awards, including multiple Elle Decor International Design Awards. Wallpaper included him on its “Top 100” and recognized him as one of the most influential creators of the last decade. He was lauded as a “visionary” and one of the most creative icons by Times magazine.

Coat Tree

The Coat Tree stand and wall-mounted coat racks by Danish designer and architect, Sidse Werner, who created the Coat Tree for Fritz Hansen, added quirky touches to Samudio’s workspace. Samudio has become known for the elaborate and imaginative way he embellished coats with beads and repurposed plastics.

The large veneer tabletop worktable with satin brushed stainless steel frame designed by Poul Kjærholm, noted for his fascination with steel and love of natural materials, is the center piece of Samudio’s workspace, a perfect symbol of a designer’s creative pursuits.

The PK55™ rectangular worktable

For guest chairs, Samudio mix-and-matched mid-century seats like the Giraffe high-back chair by Arne Jacobsen and the three-legged satin brushed stainless steel PK11 chair. Jacobsen is considered a design visionary who was responsible for designing iconic furniture for Fritz Hansen. He is also one of the most significant figures in Danish design history.

The Giraffe Chair

Samudio never really planned on being a designer. He graduated with a degree in Biology from Philippine Normal University; he was a scholar. He wanted initially to have a teaching career.

Samudio with embroidered accessories and clutch bags and neck pieces inspired by nature and his dives. (Photo by Lem Atienza)

He started focusing on design in 2011, but his influence was not in fashion but in what he sees in everyday life—nature. His is an avid diver whose works depict his discoveries in the deep seas.
A particular piece he is fond of is his mom’s Dior jacket which he embellished with seeds, bugle and Japanese beads. “The Dior blazer is a vintage piece from my mom,” Samudio said.

He explained that his creative process is free-flowing, “The pattern and colorway is done as I go along. I am guided by the memory of being a biologist and the trips I made in Palawan many moons ago.”

Samudio goes crazy with color—a mishmash of color yet the mix is not clashing. (Photo by Lem Atienza)

He also made a series of embroidered accessories clutch bags and neck pieces inspired by nature. Using the “bastidor” embroidery technique—where the artisan uses a hoop on which is stretched the leather or fabric which is then embroidered—Samudio uses acrylic, used plastic, to create his unique embroidery.

Isabella Galleria wears a repurposed Dior jacket embellished with seeds, and Japanese bugle beads. (Photography Raen Badua, Styling Luis Carlo San Juan)

The clutches are made of melted PVC plastic covered in leather. Samudio goes crazy with color—a mishmash of color yet the mix is not clashing. Because of his unique pieces, he was invited to Vogue Talents for Accessories organized by Vogue Italia in Milan in 2014. He was the only Asian among the invited nine designers, and the first Filipino to be included.

Samudio with Vogue Italia editor, Franca Sozzani

He and his creations were featured in Vogue Italia’s 50th anniversary issue. He met with the late Vogue Italia editor, Franca Sozzani. “I remember she gave me an advice saying use things that are endemic in your country. It may seem common but from someone who is not from there, it is interesting,” Samudio said. And in his case, he got inspiration from Philippine beaches. “Be proud of where you come from and use whatever you have. Talent knows no geographical location,” he recalled the advice.

Samudio showing his work to renowned fashion journalist Suzy Menkes

Model Maureen Wroblewitz wears a vintage velvet blazer with sewn plastic beads that re-create the look of a sea urchin in light violet color. (Photo by Raen Badua, Styling Luis Carlo San Juan)


Model Isabella Galleria wears a Ken Samudio necklace made of upcycled materials, new acrylic beads and Japanese bugle beads on an upcycled lambskin leather base; Auggie Cordero red dress (Photography Raen Badua, Styling Luis Carlo San Juan)

Being close to nature, Samudio shouts out for the environment and sustainability. That is why he is more inclined to give repurposed life to vintage pieces, especially clothes, using recyclable materials like plastic. “Plastic should not be demonized,” Samudio explained, “Plastic is good. Single-use plastic is bad. My works would last a lifetime.”

The Fritz Hansen Lounge Manila is located at G/F One Parkade 28th St. cor. 7th Ave. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig: Studio Dimensione – Designer Furniture Hub in the Philippines

Instagram: @fritzhansenstore_manila
Mobile: 09178406733
Email: [email protected]

Photography and Videos by Lem Atienza
Raen Badua photography shot on location Espacio Creativo Escolta

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