Modern Living

Artefino reimagines itself for the WFH world

CULTURE VULTURE - Therese Jamora-Garceau - The Philippine Star
Artefino reimagines itself for the WFH world

ArteFino may not be taking place this August, but don’t fret, fair-goers and Filipiniana lovers. The platform, whose mission has always been to showcase quality Filipino products and support the artisans who make them, launched its online presence Shopartefino.com in June of this year, and now it’s easier than ever to access ArteFino’s stylish finds from the safety of your home.

“We spent some time curating the products we would feature to revolve around the theme of ‘The Quarantine Home and Lifestyle,’” says Cedie Lopez-Vargas, one of ArteFino’s founders. “Items that were functional, relevant and essential in the effort to organize, ease and lift the spirits of living in the current new normal. Hence, aside from facemasks as protective wear, we are seeing a strong demand for home furnishings and accessories.”

Many of the home brands ArteFino carries have been with them since the beginning, but Vargas says they’re always on the lookout for new and upcoming enterprises, especially sustainable ones engaged in pushing for social impact in the way they operate their businesses.

“ArteFino encourages those that contribute to or promote the concept of the circular economy, specifically those that adhere to more environmentally ethical ways of producing their products,” she says.

Though ArteFino has attracted a sizeable local market, with many rabid fans like me who would make sure to go early on the first day so I could get first dibs on the artisanal offerings, Vargas says that at last year’s events they were also seeing quite a bit of foreign interest. “We have received invitations to participate in various fairs — Europe and the Middle East, in particular.” Come late August this year, ShopArteFino.com will start to ship internationally as a means of addressing the demand from foreign markets.

Last month ArteFino also held “Ilaw at Pag-Asa” to raise funds to buy UV sterilizers for Philippine General Hospital, which is dedicated to treating COVID patients. “Originally intended to run for just one month from June 15 to July 15, we have had to extend the end date of the project, as participation gained momentum with many more exhibitors and artisans wanting to be part of and contribute to the endeavor,” Vargas says. “Its primary goal was to help the artisans and their communities sell their existing inventory and products in order to pay the wages of their workers and once again begin to stimulate livelihood within their areas of operation.”

When Ilaw at Pag-asa will end in mid-August, it will give way to a new ArteFino e-commerce site, “featuring a lineup of new products that we collaborated on with each of the participating artisans and designers,” Vargas says. “A starter fund was provided for all. This was an option that the brand partners could avail of in order to support the purchase of materials needed, prototyping, an interest-free infusion for their overhead costs and other needs.”

She says the items are best described as “ArteFino reimagined in the time of COVID.” “They were selected to reflect the artisans’ view of the world we are living in, and the stories of the craftsmen that put their hearts, hopes and dreams into making these new, purposefully designed products.”

Vargas also gave tips on creating and decorating the ideal WFH space.  We chose brands and items from the ArteFino website that would fit her suggestions.

• Carve out a dedicated corner in your house/room and define it as your space. This helps bring much-needed focus to working from home.

• The worktable should be of a proper or adjustable height and wide enough to hold your work essentials.

• The chair should be one that is ergonomically comfortable.

• Lighting is important (natural light is always best).

• Have suitable organizers for all the different tools and materials to be within easy reach.

• Indoor plants in attractive pots or planters provide visual respite and help to cleanse the air around you.

• Scented candles can help as well, to cleanse the air and uplift your mood

• Have a framed photo of your family or loved ones to make you smile.


Lokal  home + Art + Fashion: SOYF hand-painted wooden stools

Everything is hand-painted at Lokal, where artisans craft functional art for your personal space by hand. And, not only do they customize, they also offer weekend art labs.


ARTEFINO: Coffee, Wood & Eucalyptus scented candles

I can’t think of a more appropriate aroma to fill your WFH space than a mixture of freshly brewed coffee to wake you up, eucalyptus to refresh you for the day ahead, and earthy wood to bring a bit of nature indoors. These candles also come in boxes perfect for gift giving


C&C: Narah tabletop planter

C&C, which stands for “creative” and “committed,” is a brand that partners with homebased communities of weavers and sewers to create colorful baskets, planters, and other handmade home accessories. This colorful planter comes in two other designs and is made of handpainted rattan.


ART OF GOLD: Footbath tray with palm leaves

Art of Gold’s home décor and accent items include hand-painted throw pillows, table linens, and wood and metal articles for home and bath. Make an entrance and disinfect your footwear at the same time with this hand-painted metal footbath with coil mat.


DOMESTICITY: Plain Pandan utility baskets

With its storage solutions and organizers crafted from woven pandan or native fabrics like Tinalak, Domesticity excels at bringing rustic provincial flair into your home. Store your clutter stylishly in this basket set of woven pandan.


E. MURIO: Bar cart in Patina rattan

Surprisingly multi-functional, this bar cart from E. Murio — made from rattan, sicca binding, raffia and classic bone buttons — not only stores your liquor stash but can also be used as an organizer for your WFH space.


CREATIVE DEFINITIONS: Red with blue throw blanket

Since 2008, Creative Definitions has been dedicated to supporting Negrense craftsmen. In 2017 it became a social enterprise, partnering with various weaving communities on Negros Island. This throw blanket in 100-percent cotton, woven by the community in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, is perfect for those binge-watching nights.



This modern take on the wood table was made from sustainably farmed mahogany wood f r o m t h e M A R S S E Tr o p i c a l Timber tree farm in Umingan, Pangasinan. Wenge-stained on brushed-bronze steel legs, this multi-functional piece is crafted, sanded and finished by local rice farmers from around the sustainable tree-farm b a r a n g a y c o m m u n i t i e s who were given woodworking skills training a n d e m p l o y m e n t a t a farm workshop.

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All items are available at Shopartefino.com.

Follow the author on Instagram @theresejamoragarceau and Facebook (Therese Jamora-Garceau).


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