Cover Memories of a Kingdom, the January 2014 window of FIRMA inspired by the school mistress Anna Leonowens’ stay in the court of Siam in the 1860s. Handpainted Buddhist scrolls and lacquered deer flank a tableau of carved lacquer hsun-ok vessels with a painted wood panel of Phra Phikanet (Ganesh) on the wall and a Dong Son bronze drum on the floor (Photo: Ricky Toledo)

Celebrating National Arts Month, Vibal Foundation launches the new Fifty Shades of Philippine Art book by lifestyle and design duo Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo on 19 February 2021

We have admired the window displays of the stores Firma and AC+632. It seems these tableaus have become a new art form—one that has piqued the attention of people walking past the streets in New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo. It is an art form that the creative duo Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo have mastered over the years in their stores. Thankfully, this pair has decided to share this experience—along with more delightful pieces—in the newly launched book The Fifty Shades of Philippine Art series: The Art of Window, Display, and Design.

Ricky and Chito share a passion for the visual and performing arts. This mutual love allows them to succeed as life and work partners. “It never seems like work when you are enjoying one another’s company and the things you do together,” Toledo shares.

They seem to complement each other’s style. “I am always astonished by how Chito’s mind works, how he always has another way of seeing things. Just when I thought a concept or window is done, he adds a new unexpected twist.”

The book has more than 500 pages of photos depicting objets d’art, travel sights, artistic landmarks worldwide, and exquisite window displays. It also includes a peek behind the scenes of Toledo and Vijandre’s private abode that exhibits cross-cultural influences. The book features the pair's journey as they successfully set up benefit fashion shows for the Philippine National Red Cross.

Read more: Art In The Park 2021: Yvonne Quisumbing Talks About Her Inspirations And Influences

Alongside the virtual book launch, a virtual Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year Memorial Concert in honour of Vibal Foundation's benefactor Esther A. Vibal was held. An appreciation and love for world cultures—this was the theme that brought brilliant performers to the concert.

A declamation of Fernando Maria Guerrero’s poem of high renaissance Spain, “Borja ante el cadáver de la emperatriz Doña Isabel” stunned the audience. Renowned opera singers Rachelle Gerodias and Byeong-in Park performed a beautiful duet. There were also musical numbers from Sandra Viray, chairman emeritus of the Philippine International Jazz Festival. Merjohn Lagaya, an electric violinist, together with Manila Music Minstrels impressed the crowd. Another highlight was the CCP Dance Workshop’s pas de trois of “Itim Asu”, which is based on Virginia Moreno’s award-winning play La Loba Negra under the artistic direction of National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes.

Read more: The CCP Celebrates Women's Month Through Photo Exhibits and Film Screenings This 2020