Danish-Italian design duo GamFratesi was given the task to redesign a café located in front of one of the most popular malls in Manila, Rockwell. The 130-square-meter green garden surrounded by crowds of pedestrians between skyscraper offices has come to life thanks to the creation of the 60-seater Harlan + Holden Glasshouse Café designed by Danish Stine Gam and Italian Enrico Fratesi. For the first time the Danish designers go Manila!
The designers say that the idea was to take a glasshouse as inspiration to emphasize the relationship with the outer space and maintain contact with the tropic nature already present in the area. That way the boundaries between indoor and outdoor were broken.
Feeling of a Vienna cafe
Surrounded by double-height glass windows, the space is lined with fig trees in cane planters and mint green curtains that match the upholstered seating. Cane furniture by Gebruder Thonet Vienna GmbH, tiled floors and mint green upholstery fill this glasshouse-inspired café in the financial nexus of Manila, Makati City.
Materials such as stones and terrazzo were selected in combination for the surfaces of the bar, while two marbles in contrasting black and white create a decorative carpet to define the most intimate area with sofas. Table top in wood and stone alternate in different areas.
Furnishing for a host of brands
Ficus trees transplanted from Philippine forests hold court in the dining area, set in massive planters that GamFratesi wrapped in cane webbing—a material that repeats in the restaurant’s Wiener GTV Design bentwood sofas, also by the designers. Facing one another in pairs, these high-back seats create a more enclosed dining setting for guests without the bulk and heft of installed banquettes.
GamFratesi has created furnishings for a host of brands including Ligne Roset, Casamania and Porro. It has also produced a collection of milk-glass lamps from Louis Poulsen which float like bubbles in the waters of Manila Bay. The Beetle bar stools that the studio created for Danish brand Gubi in 2014 also line the bar, upholstered in quilted velvet fabric and set on a brass frame.
The café opened in 2018. Address: Rockwell Center R1-GH, Hidalgo Drive, Makati – Philippines
Back in 2017, the studio fashioned interiors for the two restaurants inside the Maison du Danemark in Paris, decking out both in grey tones and mid-century Danish furniture pieces.
Text provided by the designers. All photographs © Patrick Diokno