Before moving to Manila from Berlin, I was quite worried that it would be difficult to find Scandinavian-style furniture in Metro Manila. Luckily, there are more options now. Naturally, it’s not as common as in Europe, but I actually have fun finding out Metro Manila’s secrets. Recently someone sent me a message asking for help, so I’ve decided to share my finds below.
Could you suggest places to buy Scandinavian-style furniture? For example IKEA minimalist type with white and grey accents. I’m trying to look around but I cannot seem to find this type of style in furniture shops in Makati.
BEFORE I DIVE IN
- GOOD TO KNOW: When buying furniture here in Manila, or anywhere else for that matter, always ask if an item is solid wood or MDF. If they say it’s veneer, that usually means it’s made of composite wood inside (not solid) then they have a very thin layer of expensive wood on top. What does this mean? Veneer is expensive, yet it’s not solid wood. If you scratch it, it’s going to be as difficult or impossible to repair, unlike solid wood, which can be fixed.
- WHY BUY SOLID WOOD? When solid wood is scratched or damaged, it can still be repaired and restored, so it’s a better investment in the long run, and also better for the environment. It also has a higher resale value than MDF laminate or veneer furniture which is basically disposable and does not ship well once assembled. Solid wood furniture, if you can afford it or find good deals, can last several lifetimes, and can be upcycled so it’s the sustainable choice for me.
- CAVEAT: Solid wood is a natural material and can expand and contract, so changes in temperature and humidity can affect it. I usually go for brands that kiln dry their wood so that there is minimal chance of cracking.
Okay so this is not strictly Scandinavian, but I am so in love with Philux’s Scandiana pieces. Scandi + Filipiniana, get it? They are so modern and unique, and of course proudly Philippine-made. They moved to a bigger space in Powerplant Mall in Rockwell. I also love their furniture for kids rooms!
They use solid Mahogany, which is better value than MDF furniture that have laminate or expensive veneer finishes. Furniture can be custom made to different colors (mine being ducco white) while the cheapest finish is brown Mahogany. They also have a store in Shangri-la BGC.
R3, Power Plant Mall • 02 898 1974 • 0917 634 9044 • other locations
I was first introduced to Triboa Bay in FAME Manila, a showcase of the best Filipino design that is held twice a year. I was really impressed that they were chosen by award-winning designer Robert Van Embricqs to manufacture his line of Rising furniture. Can you imagine a chair that stores flat and then rises to become a chair? I am really lusting after the Rising Table.
G/F LRI Design Plaza, N. Garcia St. Bel-Air II
+632.403.6281 • more locations
Also in LRI is designer Ito Kish’ store. Though he closed his main showroom down the road, this small shop of Scandi gems is still open. Curated pieces which are sourced from different countries.
I regularly visit Dimensione for cool designer accessories and more affordable Scandi-inspired design (mostly made in China). Sometimes you can find original Scandinavian brands there like House Doctor. Just a caveat: I noticed that they sometimes label it as Made in Denmark when the brand is Danish, but in reality the item is made somewhere in Asia.
I also saw my favorite brand of Indonesian-made upcycled Teak furniture in Dimensione, but when I returned recently, I saw that the pieces were copied in China and no longer made with antique recycled teak, which is in a different category compared to the light recycled wood they are using. After all really old-quality teak is not just pest resistant, but also can be used indoors and outdoors.
Dimensione has a location in Greenbelt and in Rockwell, among many others. Dimensione has a high-end show room of truly designer products in BGC, which is worth checking out.
If you are looking specifically for IKEA items in Makati, then Möbler is the way to go. Be warned that this is not an actual IKEA store, but a reseller so prices can be double, Be warned that they only accept cash or check payments. I like going when there is a sale because then the price is closer to actual.
They have a small showroom, so they don’t carry the super large pieces of IKEA, however you can order stuff from the IKEA Australia catalog. It will arrive on their next shipment. Though higher in price they are more dependable than some IKEA resellers that I have tried. In fact one IKEA reseller I tried on Instagram has not yet delivered Php6,000 worth of items that I had already paid for February 2017. I’ve been following up a refund, but it’s taking a while. Lesson learned. Möbler is established and dependable.
4977 Enrique St, Palanan, Makati, 1235 • (02) 216 1782
The Habitat in Glorietta 3 is much smaller than it’s BGC counterpart so if you would like a bigger selection, a visit to their BGC showroom is worth it. I like to think about Habitat as a more high end IKEA. It’s not surprising because Habitat used to be owned by IKEA.
If you want to see what kind of design goodies to expect, I love the photos from this blog post, by the fabulous Jackie Go.
Abenson, 28th Street And 4th Avenue BGC • (02) 887 5247
If you are already in BGC, you might as well check out Design Stories Inc. in Uptown Mall, because they carry my absolute favorite Scandi brand, HAY. One of my first posts when I moved to Manila was on the opening of Design Stories, because even if I barely had time to blog, I was really excited to have my beloved HAY here in Manila.
I ordered my ergonomic office chair from them and it was made in Denmark to my specifications. Of course there are ready to buy floor items too. These are really high quality items with great quality control. There is a big difference when you buy truly designer Scandinavian pieces vs Scandi inspired. I recommend on splurging on hard working items like a sofa, office chair, and dining set, but if budget is tight then you can’t go wrong with a HAY side table.
I love to layer metal Scandi tables that are easy to move around, instead of traditional side tables that stay in one place. The key is to have them in the same color or at have a color them. They are beautiful and are totally practical and functional. See pictures of their store here.
GOOD TO KNOW: Across from Design Stories are other furniture stores that have Scandi-inspired furniture. Again, always ask about the material of the wood and remember that if you furnish using laminate or veneer, you will need to replace them when they get damaged.
Here are more furniture hubs in BGC that are also worth checking out.
When you go up to the third level of Greenbelt 5, make sure to go to all the showrooms of Dexterton. They have a showroom, and an outlet store. Kartell is theirs and so is Artemide and some other brands. They have several and they have Scandi design and Scandi inspired furniture – mostly from Malaysia – that can be quite affordable when they are on sale. Make sure to ask what their best possible discount is, if you pay cash and also if they have 0% installment schemes with your bank. I especially love their Scandi insired couches. However when buying couches, always make sure to get ones that are comfortable to sit in, with removable covers or cushions so that they are easy to clean and if they do get stained, it’s easier to reupholster or have couch covers made.
3rd Floor Greenbelt 5 • 217-6121 / 738-1521 / 217-5389 • email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
MORE TO DISCOVER
So my lovely Declutter MNL members have suggested more Makati shops to this growing list! I would like to share them with you below. Click on them to get more info:
Soon I’ll be sharing where I score IKEA and other Scandinavian deals online, so that it gets delivered straight to my home. That’s one of my secrets to reducing stress while living in a super busy Metropolis like Manila: HAVE EVERYTHING DELIVERED.
Do you have any other go to places to buy Scandinavian Stye Furniture in Metro Manila – even if it’s not Makati? Please share in the comments below.