Gems of fine Filipino craftsmanship | Inquirer Business
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Gems of fine Filipino craftsmanship

/ 04:22 AM August 01, 2020

This year, Philux celebrates 40 years of furniture making. What began as a mom-and-pop endeavor with two carpenters in the backyard of Zelda Kienle’s ancestral home has now grown into a dynamic team and an expansive workshop with showrooms across Metro Manila.

In 1980, Max Kienle, a Swiss expatriate, and his lovely Filipina wife Zelda Aragon founded what is now one of the leading furniture manufacturers and retailers in the country. Initially an export business, Philux eventually focused on the robust local market and continues to do so today.


Max and Zelda’s daughters, Stephanie and Jessica, grew up with the factory floor as their amusing playground. Much of their childhood involved showroom rounds and visiting the workshop filled with sawdust, wood glue and the buzzing sound of traditional Italian machines, some of which are still being used to this day. For Max and Zelda, beautiful things take time and traditional furniture making techniques are practiced and preserved in their workshop.

Rolando Banal, one of the two carpenters who started in 1980. This was taken in 1995. Banal recently retired after 40 years with Philux

The Philux factory and workshop

The sisters inevitably grew to be passionate about furniture making and interior design and it was not long after finishing their studies abroad that they decided to return to Manila and learn the ropes of the business.


Presently, Stephanie and Jessica, the second generation, are at Philux’s helm, continuously breathing inspired energy into the brand. They have expanded to wood, finish, fabric, metal and matting options for their discerning clientele, making the furniture selection process more creative and personal. They have established a concierge service through Philux’s sales team, an online shop, and have launched collections of timeless yet relevant furniture pieces for every home. Most recently, they launched Philux Spaces, the brand’s design arm offering interior design services.

Philux is set towards a sustainable journey, offering FSC-certified wood sourced from responsibly managed forests around the world. They have also consciously been reducing their single-use plastic consumption, turning over their used plastics to Green Antz Builders Inc., an innovative company that turns plastic into eco bricks used to build schools, homes and other infrastructure.

Pacific sectional and Pacific nesting tables

The original Little Philux pieces, circa early 1990s

Today, more than ever, Philux has remained committed to its vision of telling the Filipino story through living spaces, inspiring a mindful way of life, and nurturing a profound love for pieces produced by Filipino hands.

While we live in such extraordinary times, Philux hopes that its furniture pieces have been and always will be meaningful to their clients’ homes. The brand carries on through the hard work of their skilled craftsmen and their promise to provide pieces that can be passed on from generation to generation.

Here’s to 40 more years of creating conscious luxury, crafted locally.

Max and Zelda Kienle at work in the 90s

Maxwell armoire in Ash honey with matting, light brass handles, and stainless steel legs with light brass finish

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