Filipino artistry is put on centre stage at Balay, a furniture pop-up by Casa Selma in collaboration with Aruga Resort and Residences-Mactan.
A Cebuano at heart, Vito Selma is renowned for his namesake brand. His designs often incorporate an elegant fusion of organic elements and modern design; he also specialises in bespoke work. Having earned numerous accolades, the Filipino-native is a treasure to the island of Cebu and has worked closely with Rockwell for its projects in the city, and now once again to introduce his latest label in Metro Manila.
Casa Selma is a distinctly Filipino brand that puts thoughtfulness at the heart of its philosophy. "Filipinos are world-renowned for their craftsmanship," Selma comments. "Although the world might be moving towards the digital and robotic, there’s nothing like a product that was made by hand. Also, it is so important to keep this trade—and this story—alive for the generations to come."
Casa Selma's first line, Understated Tropical, sees 41 pieces from seating to tables to lighting and accessories, as well as fixtures. "We’re excited about every single one of them!" Selma says. "They might seem a bit simple in form, but we’ve placed a lot of thought into the details and exploration of materials." A selection of these pieces are displayed at the Aruga Mactan model unit in Power Plant Mall, and complement not only its elevated tropical aesthetic but also its residential-resort experience. Through this, one can see how each item can suit their home and exude a similar feel.
While each piece is obviously Filipino-inspired, some take more literal forms than others. The Sassa Lamps, which are shaped like the Filipino salakot, is said to be a direct ode to local farmers and the work they do for our agriculture. "Our other pieces are not as obviously 'Filipino'," Selma adds. "Our Don end tables [for example] incorporate rice husk as a material, which is still an ode to our farmer, albeit a bit more subtle."
As with any designer, Selma first began his foray into the new line with a narrative. "Our conceptualisation process isn't set in stone. Rather, we look for stories and ways to visually share these stories through our pieces." In line with this, the brand has also promised to give back to the local communities in Cebu. "Five per cent of our proceeds will go to the fishermen of Lapu Lapu, to teach them how to fish sustainably."