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The latest in the Vibal Foundation book series Fifty Shades of Philippine Art has tastemakers Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo sharing perspectives and inspirations from around the globe.

In celebration of National Arts Month, Vibal Foundation is releasing the latest addition to its growing Fifty Shades of Philippine Art series: The Art of Window, Display, and Design, written by Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo, the creative duo behind lifestyle and furnishing stores Firma and AC+632.

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The book is richly complemented with over 500 beautiful images of window displays, objets d’art, travel sights, and artistic landmarks from around the world. It showcases the creative display of merchandise, which quickly segues into its own art form, transcending the banality of everyday objects.

The 2009 Christmas window of AC+632, Once Upon A Dream, was inspired by the Fairy Tale King, Ludwig II of Bavaria. 

The Art of Window, Display, and Design catalogues not only the famous windows of the authors’ stores, but also their interiors and fashion productions. Featuring 10 essays on art styles and design elements from across the globe, the book provides tips and principles of visual merchandising, interior design, and fashion.

Across the map

The tome is like a trip around the world. The reader might find his- or herself through Kenya by way of Out of Africa, the legendary tale of Isaak Dinesen, and a detailed study of Anglo-African safari style. Then to Kyoto as filtered to geisha culture and an in-depth look at the concept of mono no aware. You might pay a visit to the mad kind Ludwig of Bavaria on one end or take in the Giacomo Puccini opera Tosca at another.

Portrait of Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre, pencil on paper by Pablo Orendain.

The creative pair shares a mutual love for the visual and performing arts. Vijandre launched his career as a fashion designer, dressing the youthful and glamorous women in the city. He also mounted some of the most elegant fashion shows in the country. He then concentrated on interior design, creating distinctive residences for Manila’s A-list while designing upscale stores and restaurants. Toledo debuted as a production manager at an Italian publishing and design firm. Later, he established his own creative consultancy studio, creating award-winning television commercials and promotional shows in several world capitals.

Artistic statement

Some of the world’s busiest and most popular streets are not only known for their street tableaux, but also for their specialist boutiques. From London to Milan to Tokyo, the public is captivated by these witty, quirky, and even relevant window statements.

It was in the 1950s when Robert J. Leudenfrost announced that, in the US, “window display is fast becoming recognized as a new art form.” Some of the world-renowned artists of the twentieth century even displayed their unique styles on store displays, including the surrealist Salvador Dali and the pop artist Andy Warhol.

The interiors of the authors’ home feature an opium bed, Turkish lamps, and Persian carpets mixed happily with French Rococo furniture.

Similar to fine artists, window display designers need to engage potential customers with visual messages and creations that speak of their world. Each window display necessitates the perfect blend and expressive use of color, lighting, space, props, fabrics, mannequins, technology, cultural references, and ingenuity.

Fifty Shades of Philippine Art is a series of concisely written books on fine, modern, or popular art. Among its titles are Isabelo Tampinco by Santiago Pilar (2018), Toti Cerda by Laya Boquiren (2019), Francisco V. Coching by Andrea Peterson (2019), Damián Domingo by Luciano P.R. Santiago (2020), and Philippine Cinematic Art (2020) by Christopher Datol, Andrea Peterson, Gaspar A. Vibal, and Nick Lajom.

The Art of Window, Display, and Design will be officially launched at Vibal Foundation’s virtual Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year Memorial Concert and Tertulia. The even will be held to honor benefactor and philanthropist Esther A. Vibal.

The Art of Window, Display, and Design (P550) will be available in major bookstores, select art galleries and AC+632 at Greenbelt 5 in late March. To reserve your copies, please email [email protected].

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