For its sixth furniture collection, Space Encounters turned to Romanticism, the artistic and literary movement, for inspiration.
Romanticism was at its peak from 1800 to 1850 and was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and other components of modernity. The movement emphasized on “intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience,” marking a return to individuality while glorifying the past.
To mimic the romantics, Wilmer E. Lopez, owner and Creative Director of Space Encounters, and his design team attempted to isolate themselves from any modern influence: computers and mobile phones were shut as everyone went back to the drawing board quite literally. Furniture design and store interiors were sketched and colored manually; the team only had their imagination to rely on.
Space Encounters also collaborated with O.G. De Leon Precast to recreate the mouldings and columns that are reminiscent of 1940s Manila. Originally I.G. De Leon and Sons, this family-run business has been around since 1926 and has worked on iconic buildings including the Metropolitan Theater and the Quezon City Memorial Circle.
The New Romantics, on the surface, is industrial overlapping with classical revival—overlapping because the interior design aims toward seamless transitions from raw to ornate, from commercial to nostalgia. The new furniture pieces are also caught in between movements. It is familiar; it is mid century modern but the brass details, and the hints of classical tradition adds the disorienting newness to the design.
The New Romantics hopes for a resurgence of a dying art form. The art of precast mouldings have seen a decline during the past twenty years and have been relegated to government institutions, distant and cold. Space Encounters aims to bring back its old-world charm to homes and commercial spaces.
The internet has made designers (and critics) of us all. What The New Romantics means to Space Encounters is a challenge to be original, to differentiate digital design pegs from true inspiration, to actually wait until inspiration strikes and for the pen to move as if guided by an unseen force. Luckily, the muses have been generous this time around.