The MNY Spotlight

Meet Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez, Creative Entrepreneur, Author, Mother, and President and Managing Director of Philux

Introduce yourself!

I am a Swiss Filipina creative entrepreneur, the president and managing director of Philux, a homegrown furniture and lifestyle brand that champions Filipino craftsmanship, author of Embracing Natural Design, published by Rizzoli, and a mother of 3.

Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez author

Steph wears the Giselle Midi Dress in Watercolor Peony Garden

Your naturalistic designs are unique and beautiful! Where do you draw this inspiration from?

I am a visual person and delight in translating my sources of inspiration into furniture designs or broader interior conceptions.

My sources of inspiration tend to be diverse, ranging from the mundane, as when we study our wood off-cuts (the timber we no longer use in the furniture construction process) to up-cycle and integrate them into new designs, to unforgettable images I see online, from thought-provoking articles, the work of renown architects and designers to exhilarating travels. My family’s Filipino, European and African roots inform much of my aesthetic philosophy. Lastly, mother nature. She is the greatest artist and she inspires me everyday.

You manage Philux, a furniture company, in conjunction with your sister. What is your favorite aspect of this experience? 

My sister Jessica and I work hand in hand on the creative direction of Philux. We always strive to make pieces that evoke form, function and sentiment. It is important to create designs that are beautiful, while being practical and also meaningful to us. The process of this design development is what is most fulfilling, seeing the abstract ideas slowly come together into a concept that really resonates with us, and further down the line see them fully develop into loved pieces in clients’ homes. While the result is a rewarding feeling, the creative journey I share with my sister is my favorite aspect of this experience.

Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez of Philux

Follow along on Instagram @stephkienlegonzalez

You place lots of emphasis on designing in an environmentally conscious manner! What are some quick tips you have for people looking to make more environmentally-friendly choices when decorating?

I like to associate natural design with conscious, local craftsmanship. I find the idea of making design choices that can help local communities and have a soft impact on the environment incredibly appealing. This can be something as simple as choosing a piece made locally, by an artisan whose skills have become part of the object’s story. Or using your creativity to find a second life for a piece of furniture you have loved, or even just choosing the very best quality you can find so that an item will give you many years of pleasure.

Your style is classy and chic – a direct reflection of your interior design! How has your style changed through the years?

When I am asked “what’s your style?” I can never give a simple answer, because my style evolves as my life and experiences do. My design sensibility transforms as I discover new artisans and artists who resonate with me. People love to categorize and apply labels to fashion and interior design, and while I understand the need to do so, I have never felt obliged to adhere to a particular look.

Interiors wise, I feel that transitional defines best how I enjoy mixing textures and elements from different time periods—a modern take on traditional styles that includes natural elements.

Fashion wise, I enjoy wearing feminine pieces that flatter the silhouette and I love an effortless chic look - elegantly put together without being overly contrived. An element of surprise in any outfit is always fun.

Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez entrepreneur
What female interior designers do you look up to?

Kelly Wearstler, Isabel Lopez Quesada, Christiane Lemieux,  Rose Uniacke, Sarah Sherman Samuel, Amber Lewis, and Ashley Stark.

What is your go-to decoration to liven up a space?

Fresh blooms or a touch of greenery in a beautiful vase.

What draws you to the Mestiza brand? How does wearing your Mestiza piece make you feel?
I love the idea of dressing beautifully for yourself - Mestiza represents modern day women dressing, with a nod to effortless chic classics. I love how their designs showcase a mix of cultures - East meets West, tropical meets continental. When I wear Mestiza, I feel confident, feminine and I’m ready to celebrate life.

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