Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez and Jessica Kienle Maxwell on family ties and the new meaning of home - Lifestyle Asia

The sisters behind the luxury design brand Philux share how they have evolved to meet with the challenges of the times, and how our living spaces come to mean so much more in the past year.

Although Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez and Jessica Kienle Maxwell were groomed to take over Philux, their family’s luxury design business one day, the former shares that she used to be uncertain about the path she wanted to take.

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The sisters are on the cover of the current issue of Lifestyle Asia, which is filled with articles and personalities that delve and explore the new meaning of home.

“I certainly wasn’t sure I was going to join the business,” says Gonzalez, who earned an economics degree from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and also took course in Paris and London. “But I did so naturally, after my years of schooling abroad. My parents gave me the chance to participate and I was challenged by the opportunity.”

On the other hand, Maxwell’s interests in design and interiors were already developed from an early age. She remembers being taken along with her sister to showroom rounds by her mother Zelda, who would fix the displays. Maxwell, who graduated from Parsons School of Design in NYC and studied interior architecture in Paris, grew up admiring the likes of Muriel Brandolini, Victoria Hagan, Kelly Wearstler, and Nate Berkus.

Gonzalez wants to give the same freedom of choice to her daughters Andrea and Arielle. “While I would love for my daughters to be involved in the business one day, I would like for them

to be given the choice to discover what their passions are and pursue them,” she says.

Maxwell is the same with her children Luca and Layla. “At the end of the day, it is completely up to them. Who knows what their interests will be or what they will end up doing,” she says. “My

parents have always said that they were proud of where we are taking the business and love seeing all the changes we are making. I imagine I would also feel very proud and excited to see where my children would take it, and see how Philux would evolve in their hands.”

Moving forward

Evolution is something that many companies saw themselves doing over the past year as the COVID pandemic drastically changed the world.

Thankfully for Philux, which started in 1980, they were already in the final stages of their digital pivot, which included an online platform and a concierge design service.  “We had to make immediate, conscious, and touch decisions to navigate through the storm and ensure the wellbeing and sustainability of our brand, company, and team members,” Gonzalez says.

Their recently launched concierge service, called Philux Spaces, allows you to “consult, collaborate, and create” with their team. Clients can choose between different design packages depending on their need, whether it is a simple space refurbishment or a major project.

The company is also wants to support Filipino suppliers and craftsmen during these troubled times. “We are continuously searching for new local materials and techniques

to further develop our designs and creativity,” Gonzalez says. “We always in the lookout of emerging artisans and artists because we believe in supporting small and local businesses, as well—especially in today’s challenging economic environment.”

And, while the situation is still challenging, Maxwell remains optimistic that things will eventually turn for the better. “It will take time, but we believe the economy will bounce back,” she says. “Once it opens up, people will feel more comfortable to try new things again.”

Read the whole story of Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez and Jessica Kienle Maxwell in Volume 1 of Lifestyle Asia 2021.

Photos MARK NICDAO
Art Direction MARC PAGDILAO

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