Cover Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez (Photo by Scott A Woodward)

In seeking to lead an environmentally conscious and purposeful lifestyle, Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez relays how Philux has pursued a fruitful partnership with Green Antz and Smart Infinity to tackle the challenge of single-use plastics in a concrete and lasting way

In many ways, the realms of design, architecture, and sustainability remain intrinsically tied. Such is the belief of Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez, managing director of homegrown furniture brand Philux, newly minted author, and recently recognised Changemaker in the third episode of Smart Infinity’s TV documentary series, Infinite Legacies. Together with her sister Jessica Kienle Maxwell, Gonzalez zestfully leads the creative direction of their family-owned business, nurturing a virtuous passion for Filipino craftsmanship and design through and through.

See also: Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez Welcomes Us Into Her Unique Manila Apartment

Describing Philux’s pieces as a thoughtful layering of form, function, and sentiment, Gonzalez relayed, “Our purpose is really to develop and share conscious and finely crafted Filipino designs for every home and hope that it is passed on from generation to generation.” Thus, the idea of a circular economy is deeply rooted in every step of production at Philux, from the inspired design process taken alongside other local artisans and world-renowned creatives to the painstaking selection of materials utilised in each piece of furniture.

“We do our best to source ethically and so all our solid wood is sourced from sustainably managed forests,” Gonzalez shared. Certified by the international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), this FSC-labelled wood helps to ensure that Philux’s every creation is not only aesthetically beautiful but also notably practical, durable, and sustainably sound.

See also: 8 Southeast Asian Furniture Brands that Celebrate Local Craftsmanship

Her younger sister also added that Gonzalez has always taken to this side of the family business with earnest dedication. “There are a few people like her who have that same determination and drive for success, but also, that level of empathy and consciousness,” said Maxwell. “Being in a business which uses wood as its main material, sustainability is a core value in the company, and this is something Stephanie felt very strongly about early on.”

This strong inclination for conservation and the environment eventually led Gonzalez down the path of discovering Green Antz, an innovative construction group developing solutions to address the waste crisis. Green Antz President and CEO Rommel Benig has said, “Using our proprietary technology, our purpose is to convert waste into something of value, which we do in partnership with corporations, local government units (LGUs), and communities.”

See also: How Siargao Green Artisans Make Furniture Out Of Wood Scraps

Notably, the organisation is famed for repurposing single-use plastics into eco-bricks to build schools, homes, and infrastructure all over the country. Seeking a concrete way to upcycle Philux’s plastic packaging waste, Gonzalez deemed that a partnership with Green Antz was an inexorable pursuit aligned with the meaning and purpose of the company.

 “As a child, I always felt nourished by nature so when I met Rommel of Green Antz, I thought that his social enterprise was really something I could relate to,” Gonzalez recounted. Apart from Philux aiming to ‘close the loop’ by reintroducing Green Antz’s upcycled materials in some of their newest collections, the partnership is also committed to increasing awareness across a wider yet simultaneously closer approach.

See also: 5 Foundations In The Philippines That Prioritise Nature And Sustainability

Smart Infinity x Green Antz x Philux bins and drop-off points have been stationed at the Smart Infinity centres in BGC World Plaza, Rockwell, and SM North EDSA, urging the public to become a part of the change. “This is one way to educate the public that something is being done with the plastics we are collecting,” added Benig. “If people see that tangible products are being produced out of the waste that they are providing for us, then they become more inspired to become part of the program.”

To date, Philux and Green Antz have been able to upcycle close to 1,500 kilos of single-use plastic. Moreover, the bins at selected Smart stores have been extended until July 31 so that even more people are given the capacity and accessibility to inspire change themselves. Indeed the perfect embodiment of her words, Gonzalez remarked, “A Changemaker is someone who lives a life of purpose. Someone who can pay it forward and inspire others to do the same.”


Catch the next episode of Infinite Legacies featuring Kenneth Cobonpue on July 10 at 7 pm over Cignal, Cignal Play, or Smart GigaPlay. Episode replays highlighting the advocacies of Bea Valdes, Len Cabili, and Stephanie Kienle-Gonzalez can also be viewed on the GigaPlay app.

For more information on Smart Infinity’s offers and updates on the next Infinite Legacies episode, visit the Smart Infinity website and follow them on Instagram.

 

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