Fashion and Beauty

Indulge yourself in old world elegance

MY LIPS ARE SEALED...SOMETIMES - Maurice Arcache - The Philippine Star
Indulge yourself in old world elegance
Mentxaka’s stylish proprietor and curator Doody Menchaca Tuason
Photos by Alex Van Hagen powered by MAC Center

Valentine’s is just around the corner, and a perfect time to give your loved one something that he/she will treasure forever, dahling.

Tucked in a building along Chino Roces (Pasong Tamo) Ext. in Makati is one of the country’s most elegant interior haunts — Mentxaka Manila.

At Mentxaka Manila, the sable glass walls intensify the presence of unique and covetable pieces that blend seamlessly in any space.

The stylish proprietor and curator Doody Menchaca Tuason is a Europhile who channeled her passion for Old World elegance into an enterprise. The boutique’s name pays homage to her family’s Basque origins. Mentxaka is a classy treasure trove of artisan silverware, crystals and hand-carved furniture pieces with occasional Filipino antique tables.

The country’s most discriminating clientele, designers and architects and top bracket collectors have made Mentxaka a must-visit store even in this pandemic. “When you’re stuck at home, the more you notice what you need. Since people didn’t go out or travel, they had extra cash. They’ve been buying vases, lamps, trays, glassware and silverware. The silver trays from England are more utilitarian, which you can use for breakfast in bed. These objects are (like) what you see in Downton Abbey and the palaces because they reflect quality workmanship,” says woman of substance Doody.

Connoisseurs will appreciate the finely-chiseled caviar plate (c. 1890) and tray (c. 1830) by the Atkin Brothers, silversmiths since the 18th century from Sheffield, England; or the serpentine lines of the rococo picture frames and the florid Louis XV gilded brass frames from Italy. From Murano, the handmade, mid-century Venetian crystal lamp projects the classic, understated look. “These pieces have been carefully selected.  The objects are not only functional, but also speak of a certain time. They all have a historic provenance,” explains Doody.

Magdalena Sofa in solid mahogany wood.

Mentxaka specializes in accent pieces that prettify a corner. If you’re looking for a bar cabinet, the ash burl cabinet opens with a surprise mirrored interior.  The solid mahogany table with carved leaves and fancy motifs in Old World silver leaf with a tempered glass top can dramatize the foyer. Those in the know will appreciate the mid-century chairs upholstered in silk velvet by Rubelli, a fifth-generation family textile company from Venice.

You will also fall in love with the gorgeous crystals bonbonnieres and decanters, French chinoiserie plates, Italian glass candleholders and ornate mirrors. The Old World pieces happily blend with such contemporary items as Persephone crystal vase, coated in steel, and Les Heritiers, mouth-blown designer glass lamps from France.

In Doody’s search for that special find, she trawled the alleys in Florence and other Italian cities looking for the finest artisans. One Italian worker from a small atelier hammers and sculpts the metal in the mode of his ancestors. At the start of Mentxaka, she dealt with this woodcarver and furniture maker who supplied her with exquisite pieces. Today, she does business with the son.

Where else does she get her pieces? An Italian expert on decorative arts, who only sources the best of the best, has been tipping her off.

One thing you must remember is that social media posts and the website don’t give the same impact as the in-store experience. Doody says, “Pictures only tell a fraction of the object’s narrative. You must visit the store to appreciate the scale and texture and feel the artistry imbued in each item.”

She adds: “Shopping is an emotional experience. When you see something and you are moved by its perfection, the creative part of you is saying that it could make a statement at home. Each piece here carries its own weight wherever you put it.”

Marrying period pieces with contemporary elements is what makes the home unique and lived-in. “There is no greater guest than you. Because your environment affects your mood, surround yourself with the things that you love and make the most out of them,” says Doody.

These incredibly fabulous objects found in Doody’s boutique are not to be stored away but to be used, palanggas.

Ash Burl cabinet with mirrored interior.

* * *

Mentxaka is at the ground floor, Unit 2, DPC Place Bldg., 2322 Chino Roces Ext., Makati.

For inquiries, call 8828-9748.


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