Stephanie Kinley Gonzalez on Natural Design and her book with Rizzoli New York – Yalla Match

Stephanie Kinley Gonzalez works in crowds, not only for the size and breadth of her work, but also for the fact that all aspects of her work come together harmoniously. Her philosophy of purposeful living forms a tapestry among her many careers: President of local luxury furniture manufacturer and retailer Philux, Member of the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity, Member of the Board of the Next Generation of WWF Philippines , Media personality and of course a loving wife and mother of three children.

This year, Stephanie has added another feather to her hat as the author of her first book embracing natural design, Which it was Published by the world renowned publishing house Rizzoli. Filled with exciting insights into its design philosophies complimented by photographs captured around the world, this coffee table book is the product of a beloved work crafted over several years.

We talk to the respected stylist to discuss her personal journey around authorship and what she hopes the book means to Filipino readers.

What was your main goal in writing? embracing natural design?

In fact, it all started with me documenting my home and velox interior design processes. I felt it was such a great creative experience that I decided to document my work and projects even more. At one point, a few years ago, I had gathered a good amount of materials and had developed the idea to put it all together in one book. Definitely a project with wide impact, but a perspective that thrilled me.

In the end, Rizzoli expressed interest. I contacted them directly and was pleasantly surprised when they came back to let me know they were eager to work with me. This convinced me that this was the right time to pursue a book – I had always dreamed that my work would be considered by a publishing house for its height, so I decided to take this opportunity. At the end of the day, I aimed to display the beauty of the stylist by applying a natural design approach to the spaces, as well as to celebrate the art and craftsmanship of those with whom I have collaborated and admired for a long time. I wanted to emphasize my love for Filipino design and authentic spaces.

How do you define natural design according to your terms?

To me, natural design involves a number of aspects. The most tangible is the introduction of raw and organic materials into furniture, accessories, wallpaper, window treatments and other finishes as a way to give the exterior. Whether wood, textile or stone, I feel that these touches bring the elements a lot of warmth and comfort and bring a rich sense of materiality and texture to the space.

Another would be to include local conscious craftsmanship. I think the elements ingrained in design choices made with the aim of building local communities are more appealing. The same goes for things that are specifically conceived and produced either to recycle existing materials or to have an easier impact on the environment. This adds another layer of substance to the landscape design concept and demonstrates the breadth of possibilities to apply a landscape design approach to the project.

The book features people and places from all over the world, including Kenneth Cobonbio himself. How does Filipino design fit into the context of your book with the rest of the world?

Part of the book is devoted to categorizing individuals like Filipino creators Kenneth Cobonbio, Bee, Marja Valdes and Olivia Daboville. I really wanted to emphasize their work ethic, design philosophy and their interpretation of Filipino design in their craft.

Pia and Marja, for example, focused on empowering the local female workforce and improving slow, conscious craftsmanship – where women work harmoniously side by side in their art. Through their work, whether textiles or fashion accessories, they celebrate local traditions and convey a beautiful message of solidarity, community, women empowerment and preservation of traditions.

Olivia, on the other hand, has focused on sustainability throughout her career. She often works with lifestyle programs and uses beautiful Filipino materials as well between other abace my eyes. Kenneth does the same thing, but in his own way. What makes it interesting is that it is able to seamlessly translate a mix of local influences into pieces that are highly contemporary and can rival global design players.

Rich in natural resources, the Philippines has generated visionaries who have been able to translate those materials and sources of inspiration into incredible works of art worthy of the world stage. And I’m glad I can celebrate this in the book.

Since you wear a lot of hats, how did you find a balance between all your current responsibilities and working on a book at the same time?

It is certainly an evolving process. I felt like I had finally gotten into a rhythm and then our third daughter came into our lives just three months ago and changed the equation again. But ultimately, it all has to do with finding your true goal, setting your focus, and working tirelessly toward achieving it.

Common answers to time management and work-life balance are essential. However, what has resonated recently is a quote from Steve Jobs that appeared in an article I read – saying that good leaders should say no to hundreds of things. To put it in a more positive perspective, being thoughtful about what to say “yes” and ultimately what to do allows one to spend time, energy, and mental and physical ability focusing only on what fits the purpose. of someone and work towards achieving specific goals. , instead of getting lost in the madness that life can sometimes bring.

I also want to ask about the journey of being a writer or author. Did you have any personal knowledge you gained when you finished the book?

First, I would say, follow your intuition. Publishing a book like this has always been a dream and something I thought I had the ability to pursue. But because I had no experience in this field, I always carried a sense of doubt. However, I decided to follow my intuition – with determination and a little courage, I reached out to Rizzoli. My husband may have thought I had lost my mind, but I discovered that the worst that could happen was that I would be rejected, with whom I could live. In the end, everything worked out and if I had not pushed myself to contact the publisher in the first place, I would not be here today.

Second, do not hesitate to turn to others for guidance. This process was completely new to me, but working with other people in the field made it easier and more fulfilling. I am honored to work with my collaborators in South Africa, my editors in New York and countless other people from Manila and other parts of the world whose expertise has shaped this project and who have been instrumental in this journey.

Natural design embrace is available worldwide. Visit for more information.

Photos submitted by Stephanie Kinley Gonzalez

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