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.