Weaves: The Secret To Tropical Style

Check out our designer tricks on styling your home using woven furniture and décor

Photography: Kurt Alvarez Styling: Dagny Madamba & Tala Singson

As a tropical country, we have no shortage of the plants best suited for weaving. Then and now, our people have made the most out of this craft, employing time-honored weaving techniques and making it contemporary by using new, manmade materials and interpreting it into modern shapes. 

While the typical, failsafe way of decorating with woven furnishings is to use them in resort-like houses; woven furniture and décor can suit any space, even contemporary, elegant, or minimalist condo units. Check out how we styled different living spaces using various types of woven furniture.

1. Natural Woven Furniture

These woven furniture pieces are made of natural materials such as rattan, cane, buri, abaca, and seagrass. We are used to seeing traditional woven furniture so often that we sometimes forget these pieces have a certain level of sophistication when paired with the right accessories.

Good for: Any area, but most especially a relaxed modern home with an open layout.

Style it: Mix up this traditional look with different types of weaves for a variety of textures—like this vignette that features a basket weave wall divider and stool paired with a solihiya or hole-in-hole caning weave in a modern ambassador chair. The lines are simple and sleek, and would look great even in a minimalist interior.

Products: Droplights, Woven Stool with Upholstered Seat, Lounge Chair with Solihiya Weave, Dining Table, Tabletop Décor, prices available upon request, all from O.M.O. at LRI Design Plaza, 210 N. Garcia St., Makati City

2. Synthetic Woven Furniture

Woven furniture are not limited to organic materials. There are now many modern furnishings made from synthetic materials like metal wire and plastic strands that are technically more durable and easier to manipulate into varied forms and patterns. The synthetic materials can also withstand sun, wind, and rain.  

Good for: the great outdoors, or for accenting a living space.  

Style it: Choose pieces with clean, sleek elements and a refined style. On the other hand, juicy colored pieces will stand out in a predominantly neutral interior.

Products: Ritorto Easy Chair, P15,000, Basil Stools, P7,500 each, Bull Wire Trophy Head, P7,500, all from A. Garcia Crafts

3. Woven Fabric

Indigenous woven fabric by different Filipino tribes has been having a renaissance lately in various trade fairs, specialty shops, and even online stores. Fabrics such as inabel, t'nalak, hablon, buri, and many others paired with the intricate and symbolic patterns of different tribes give these fabrics an added layer of sophistication and meaning not found in store-bought textiles. 


Good for: throws, upholstery, pillowcases, runners, and lampshades.

Style it: Fabric has the versatility to transcend the traditional tropical style. In this Ayala Triangle showroom, Albert Avellana incorporated local weaves into a very contemporary-modern interior, by way of soft furnishings, ottomans, and lampshades.

Products: Get Philippine fabric pieces from Tesoro’s, Kultura, Anthill Fabric Gallery, and Great Women Asean.

4. Woven Wire

Because of modern technology, designers have been able to play around with different shapes and forms—most often the pieces they fabricate go beyond furniture and imitate handmade weaves like Ann Pamintuan’s forged metal giraffe sculptures.

Good for: a minimalist or art-filled home where unique pieces have a place to stand out in, or out in the garden.

Style it: Group one-of-a-kind pieces together and go for a dynamic range of forms and height. Focus on a simple color palette to keep the spotlight on the beautiful silhouettes. Position the pieces in unusual arrangements—perhaps a chair in profile view or sculpture facing a window.

Products: Pout Chair with Abaca Ribbon by Debbie Palao, Wire and Test Tube Vertical Planter by Debbie Palao, find similar at HoliCow; Aladdin Ghost Lamp, HoliCow; Giraffe Sculpture by Ann Pamintuan, available at

Read the original article ("The Woven Word") in the April 2016 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details. 

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