Maria Taniguchi's 'Grave Findings: A Reclamation Project'

On Taniguchi's Trail
By Walter Ang
October-December 2005
Metro Home & Entertaining

You enter a slim corridor. Flanking the walls are two glass-paneled cabinets. The air is still. The path is stark. You perceive a wider space at the end of the hall. The effect is almost ethereal.

As you enter the first part of the latest exhibit at the Lopez Memorial Museum (ground floor of Benpres Building along Julio Vargas in Pasig City), it feels as if you are being led to somewhere not of this earth. In the two vitrines found on your left and right, however, are objects that ground you to the essence of "Grave Findings: A Reclamation Project."

Brown, glazed stone effigies no bigger than your palm are placed side by side in single-file in each display case. At first glance, you may assume that they are from some sort of unearthed collection.
That's until you realize these are miniature replicas of very modern stuff ? creature comforts like laptops, pillows, cellphones and even the most intimate of possessions: a pair of boxer briefs and a pair of high-heel shoes.

These sculptures serve as a way to ease you into the source of their inspired creation: the museum's permanent collection of earthenware excavated from Calatagan, Batangas. Commissioned to interact with this particular assortment, Maria Taniguchi created the ceramic pieces as her take on "pabaon," keepsake-wishes for the afterlife.

The 24-year old artist leads you to several installations that are cleverly woven into the existing inventory of pottery from the Calatagan dig. Her lacquered bust of Dr. Robert Fox, responsible for
excavating a majority of the displayed items, stands together with the cornucopia of unpolished plates and coarse jarlets. Her video interviews of the present dig-site caretakers shine their otherworldly glow onto the polished and smooth surfaces of traded and locally crafted dishes and bowls.

Taniguchi blurs the lines that keep old and new apart, perhaps pointing out the impermanence of these tangible objects or maybe nudging us to dig deeper within ourselves so we can be more than what we leave behind.

Call Lopez Memorial Museum at 631-2417.

Dan Lichauco opts for old furniture for instant character

Segunda Mano 
By Walter Ang
October-December 2005
Metro Him Magazine

Architect Dan Lichauco contends that nothing beats old furniture for adding instant character to a new place. "The first place I bring my clients to shop for furniture is their parents' house," he shares. "If there's nothing there, that's when we go antique stores or second-hand stores."

For this METRO HIM expedition, Dan ends up in Channalli, an antiques and furniture store tucked away in the ground floor of an office building in Makati. After a few minutes of scouring, he picks out a few pieces to demonstrate how a simple sleight-of-hand (and some imagination) can turn second-hand furniture into a thoroughly modern masterpiece.

Instant character
Dan found a pair of Argentinian wooden chairs bound with leather, aged to a perfect brown, to create instant gentrification for a room. The arms of the chair are actually barber shop strops, adding a sudden sense of whimsy and nostalgia for any guest. A great conversation starter, for sure.

To keep the look from feeling too dated and heavy, Dan uses modern lighting fixtures. "Don't be afraid to mix the old and the new," he encourages. By way of example, he then places a square white tile on top of a 1960s Vietnamese footstool to create a side table. The undulating pole of a shiny antique silver candelabra provides a cool foil for this stately look.

Eclectic elements
Now what bachelor would not want to have a leather-and-chrome recliner to complete his crib? Unfortunately, an industrial atmosphere can be a little too cold and daunting if not cushioned with a few softening elements.

Dan counters the horizontal line of the recliner with vertical accents like the single blade of leaf in a glass vase, a carved wooden totem (recycled from a door frame) leaned on the wall, and an antique lamp stand. The stand's translucent shaft gives the illusion of carved glass, complementing the recliner's aluminum frame. The red tassel adds a splash of color and fun.

The table lamp adds to the industrial look with its boxy frame, but since it's made of wood, provides a nice contrast as well. Wood is also the material that makes up a parabolic side table that mimics the curves of the recliner.

Color combo
Using his tile trick once more, Dan gives a low wooden Chinese side table from the 50s an instant update. He then frames it with plastic seats that evoke the 60s and 70s, playing with red and white as the color motif for this living room or seating area.

The color motif is repeated back and forth by placing a crimson cushion on the white seat and red funky ornamental glass vases (again from the 50s) on the white table-top tile. Notice how he staggers the heights of the vases to create layers and variety, but still maintains a unified look because all of them are the same color.

Channalli is at G/F Benlife Bldg., 166 Salcedo St., Makati City. Across the street from the Indonesian Embassy.