Ito KishIto Kish may have just begun his foray into the art of furniture design, but he’s been in the design industry and retail business for 12 years, and he’s been doing visual merchandising for over two decades. And his experience and insight into what works and what doesn’t has paid off—at the 2012 Manila FAME: The Design and Lifestyle Event held at the SMX Convention Center from March 14 to 18, he scored a double victory by winning the awards for Best Booth Design and Best Product Design for Furniture.

His design had a distinctly Filipino feel, as he had chosen to focus on a particular element—traditional balusters, with some modern tweaks. He also made it a point to only use materials that could be sourced locally. After all, Ito says that, more than anything, he wants his designs to be instantly recognizable as having been designed by a Filipino. “I think that’s very important,” he says. “I really want to make sure that there’s an identity right away when you see the pieces that we designed.”

But how does he mesh his own sense of style with that of the clients who hire him as a design consultant? Ito says, “I always tell my clients, ‘If you give me the freedom and you tell me what you want, I will polish what you like, your taste, and your style. I will polish it according to your style, not according to [mine]. Every time a client gives me 100 percent trust, I would say that, 95 percent [of the time], it comes out better than the storyboard.”

Yet not everyone can afford a design consultant or interior designer. So we asked Ito to share some tips for those who want to decorate their home in style—with or without an expert. Check out the gallery below for his tips and a glimpse at his furniture, as seen in his Manila FAME booth.

For more on Ito Kish and his work, visit KISH can be found at 233 N. Garcia St., Bel-Air, Makati City; store hours are 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM from Monday to Friday and 1:00 to 6:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

(All photos by Mike Dee)

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