Old Airplane Parts Inspire Cool Furniture by Space Encounters

Fear of Flying runs until August 14.

(SPOT.ph) Keeping antique furniture in your home isn't anything new especially if you love vintage pieces. There are even a few auction houses in Manila—Casa de Memoria, for example—that specialize in collecting antiquities and heirlooms from all over the world and selling these prized (and "pricey") items to customers who have tens of thousands of pesos to spare. But how often do you see tables, chairs, and desks made from discarded materials—airplane parts, to be exact? Interior design firm and furniture brand Space Encounters presents its newest collection, Fear of Flying, which features upcycled turbine engine and propellers from old aircrafts. It's made in collaboration with Paco Pili and runs until August 14 at Space Encounters Gallery in Pasig City.

Fear of Flying coincides with The Warhol Show and Look At You Now exhibitions.
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela
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The new furniture collection is a collaboration between Paco Pili (left) and Space Encounters' Wilmer Lopez (right). Angelo Cruz (middle) is in charge of the exhibition space's design.
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela

Space Encounters Gallery is currently designed like a speakeasy.
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela
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"For a long time now, [I've been] collecting vintage pieces and mostly, reclaimed items na nire-repurpose," Wilmer Lopez, co-owner of Space Encounters, tells SPOT.ph on how the project started. He’s been in contact with an Australian who often sells him knickknacks like rusty fans and transistor radios that he would use as décor at home, the gallery, or the showroom. Lopez’s supplier also has a set of discarded airplane parts, including a couple of cabin windows, a turbine engine inlet, propeller spinner caps, aircraft wings, a food storage box, and an emergency door.

Turbine Ottoman (P65,000)
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela
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Spinner Side Table (P28,000)
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela

Spinner Side Table (P28,000)
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela
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"It's something very different from the usual. Wala pa akong idea what we can do about it pero pina-ship ko from Australia," the gallery co-owner narrates about running into these items in 2018 and finally getting his hands on them in early 2019. It was then that he remembered meeting Paco Pili in 2017 because of their shared interest in repurposing vintage pieces. "Back then, we had no gallery pa, but I had the idea that I want to set up something out of [upcycled items]. Nung dumating na 'yong airplane parts, naisip ko ulit si Paco. I think [he] has the talent and the skill to execute our ideas,” Lopez continues.

Spinner and Tail Drop Light (P35,000)
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela
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Cabin Airmoire (P75,000)
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela

Emergency Exit Pedestal Cabinet (P37,500)
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So how did a solo artist that's already well established in upcycling and a brand known for mid-century furniture put their heads together for this collaboration? It was a lot of back and forth, they revealed. "Mag-explore daw ako. Nag-submit ako ng designs. May mga pumasa, may mga hindi pumasa pero may [input] din sila,” Pili says. He even joked about how Space Encounters made beautiful renditions of his rough sketches, which looked a lot like children’s drawing on paper. “Pero mas maganda ‘yong actual,” Lopez quips.

Left: Spinner Chair (P40,000); Right: Steward's Box (P35,000). The painting on the wall is "Three Warhols" by Blic.
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela
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Wing Coffee Table (P42,000). The paintings on the wall are: "Velvet Banana," "Campbell's Sashimi," "Burger," and "Picture of a Famous Person"—all by Mr. S.
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela

Wing Console Table (P42,000)
PHOTO BY Vincent Coscolluela
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Fear of Flying is also part of Space Encounters’ 10th anniversary celebration as a furniture brand. "What is Space Encounters in the future? [It’s about] looking forward and flying there,” Lopez says about the title of the collection.

He also talked about the immediate fear that one has when dreaming big. "Napakataas, matatakot ka e kasi baka di mo maabot 'yon. Ando'n 'yong fear of flying pero hahayaan mo na—I will do that, I will fly." And with that, we can’t help but be excited about what Space Encounters has in store for us in the next five, 10, 15 years.

Fear of Flying runs until August 14 at Space Encounters Gallery, 7/F Padilla Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For more information, visit Space Encounters’ website.

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