Those chairs look familiar





Last November 2014, I had the great honour of hosting the official launch of APEC 2015 in the Philippines. It was attended by the country’s top business, economic and government leaders. No less than the President of the Philippines himself, President Benigno Aquino III was there to speak. It promised to be an exciting year with high-profile activities across the country. We are even getting a long vacation because of it next month.

This blog post isn’t really about APEC. It’s about chairs and integrity.

A reader of mine sent me these photos taken at the Yusay Consing Mansion in Iloilo City. It is a “heritage home” built in the 1920s and is currently being used as the site of three high-profile events for APEC dignitaries.


The Yusay Consing Mansion in Iloilo City is the site of the "one-stop shop" for APEC 2015. This is where the DAPHNE-inspired chairs are being displayed and sold.

The Yusay Consing Mansion in Iloilo City is the site of the “one-stop shop” for APEC 2015.


According to Iloilo City’s Facebook account, The Yusay-Consing mansion has been transformed into a heritage museum, where Ilonggo products are “proudly” displayed and sold. It is also now known as Molo Mansion. Here are the reader’s photos of the Yusay Consing Mansion displays and museum shop.

Please tell me what you see in these next three photos.

Inside the Yusay Consing Mansion, chairs that bear an almost exact resemblance to my chairs are being displayed.

Inside the Yusay Consing Mansion… those chairs look familiar.


The copies.

Those chairs look familiar.


For sale....

The price of one “accent chair”


Let me re-introduce the chairs from my own brand.

The DAPHNE® chairs were conceived in 2009. It was part of an overall wish, that one day there would be high-quality products sold under my brand. I set up DAPHNE as a registered trademark years before, upon the advise of my lawyer friend. Once we were set up, things worked out well and fast. I had products developed in partnership with top retailers and manufacturers. Our luxury linen was sold in SM and Our Home. Then came DAPHNE Furniture® which debuted in Rustan’s Makati and was later moved to all the big branches of Dimensione. Then DAPHNE® Home Scents for BENCH. And Currently, I have DAPHNE and National Book Store stationery. For all these products, there was a supporting team of designers, technical specialists and business partners who helped me design, set up, source, manufacture, market, and retail them. It wasn’t easy. It took time, money and talent.

The DAPHNE chairs were received well by the media and the public. They were cute. But more importantly, they were very well-made. Our partner manufacturer is one of the country’s top furniture makers, licensed for export and all that. The paint, distressing process, type of wood, hand carving process were all top-quality.

When my brand and blog were featured in Vogue Italia, the author asked me about the chairs. You may read about it here. You may also view the many times I’ve written about my chair in my blog.

Last year, my partners and I decided to put the furniture line to rest. We stopped making the DAPHNE chairs. I felt that the chairs had a good enough run. And it was time to move on. I had planned on developing new products.

So for now, there are no longer any real/original DAPHNE chairs being sold. I may bring it back one day… after all, it is very special to me and my brand.


In 2010, in my own home. One of the prototypes of DAPHNE chairs and my youngest daughter.


"How did you do that Mom?" -Lily,5 upon seeing the Daphne Chairs at Dimensione
In 2012, I moved the DAPHNE chairs from Rustan’s to Dimensione. This coincided with the launch of my DAPHNE® homescents for Bench. Here is little Lily in the shop’s window.


With the move to Dimensione, we came out with bolder colours. Still the same form.


My chair. I use its image in the packaging and on my website. This particular image was drawn by Isabel Gatuslao, who designed this website.
I use the image of the chair on my website’s dashboard. It has become this iconic thing. This particular image was drawn by Isabel Gatuslao, who designed this website.


At UNICEF’s Auction for Action, which I founded and hosted for three years, I donated two DAPHNE® chairs. Here it is, displayed at the Yuchengco Museum.


Early on, one of my readers, a baker, got inspired by the chairs. She used them as cupcake toppers and sent me this photo.


Another baker in Ilocos Norte gave me this cupcake with an intricately handcrafted fondant replica of my chair. It was done to scale. I kept this, as is. Though my friend, Eliza, accidentally sat on it. haha. So the leg is broken.


Original DAPHNE® chairs started to be used at Vanilla Cupcake bakery a few years ago. .


The DAPHNE chairs were also sold in HEIMA for a limited time.


At a trade show in 2012 where I was able to put all my products together in one setting. Months later, I launched DAPHNE Home Scents by Bench. And early this year I launched DAPHNE & National Book Store stationery.


Featured in Lucy Torres-Gomez’s old TV show, Leading Ladies, in Lifestyle Network.


The chairs are so special to me, I use it as my Twitter profile pic.


The APEC ministerial meetings have been ongoing in Iloilo City since September 22nd. The are “familiar-looking chairs” are being shown and sold as we speak. I don’t know what can be done now.

I’m just sad that there is no respect for intellectual property!

My heart is broken.



Leave a comment

  • SHING (@ShingKikay)

    That’s too bad (and sad).

    For years, I’ve been saving up so that when I turn 40, I could start buying your chair one at a time and be able to complete the collection when I’m 45. I’m 43 now and haven’t bought 1 because I can’t find them anymore in any store. Good I read your post because I saw a post somewhere that it is indeed available in the province at almost half the price.

    Are the ones displayed in Iloilo an “inspiration” or “imitation”? I just noticed that the back part is not painted gold/silver and not carved as that of the front design?

    You might want to contact the dealer/supplier (shown in the tag/label?) to know if they fabricated it or just sourced it from someone else.

    • Anonymous

      inspiration or imitation?
      what do you think.
      it was obviously not manufactured by my team.

  • Patricia May P. Gonzalez

    Oh my. Apart from feeling violated, I think this must really hurt big time because obviously based on this article, there was a loooooot of love put into the design and production of this chair. I feel for you ms daphne. I hope these people who produced the fake chairs realize that this chair is a huge part of YOU and to come up with poor replicas, by the way, is an insult to their own creativity. Please, please, please put them back on sale. There is nothing like the original.

    • Anonymous

      🙁 i am still sad about it.

  • Anonymous

    I strongly suggest you take legal action on the matter. A lot of “abala”, I know, but they robbed you if an intellectual property. Follow what Kenneth Cobonpue did when he asked the NBI’s assistance in raiding a furniture store selling copied pieces of his work. If it were only one or two, I would have advised you to brush it off. But for goodness’ sake, there were a lot of pieces on sale in that’s mansion. For all we know, a moneyed individual or family might have spearheaded its production- to your detriment. You are not wanting of evidence and witnesses to back you up. And this blog of yours is enough to prove that the design is yours and that you alone have the right to mass produce that lovely chair.

  • Elna Smith

    That’s terrible. Very sorry Daphne. I’d be furious if I were you. 🙁 I sure do hope there’s something that can be done to stop this. Btw, I love those Daphne chairs and back in 2009-10 I really wanted to purchase two of them but found out it wasn’t that easy to bring them to the UK. If you make them again I’d certainly buy two of them and will ask a Filipino diplomat friend if she could arrange someone from DFA to bring them to London. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      I’ll check if we have 2 left over.

  • Ckate Kathryn Ogacion

    Hi Ms. Daphne..I really love your chairs & design,I’d love to have one too. I sat in one of them in vanilla cupcakery shop. I’m from Iloilo City & I saw the pictures too from our City Mayors’ facebook page. I thought it was Daphne chairs but the design & craftwork is not at par w/ your designs. It’s not intricately done & I’m not sure if it’s worth the price. I’ll share your post on our Mayors’ facebook page hoping it’ll get his attention. I’m not sure who manufactured this furniture but SM already owned the Yusay Consing Mansion. Too bad it’s being sold in APEC & the original creator doesn’t get the credit.You are an inspiration & your creativity is a true work of art that people copy your designs. #protectintellectualproperty.

  • Amna Lovelia Saul Tabang

    A coppied one will never be like the original one!As I scrutinized closely the design on your chair,it is very clear that the carvings on the backrest of the chair are intricately well done and refine.It is well defined by the borders,while the coppied ones are boldly done.Too bad you don’t get royalty rights for your creation & the fact that it happenned in your ancestors place which is Iloilo….a hurting experience for you!

  • – r@ch alarcon –

    This is sad.

    I wonder if the mayor knows the furniture maker who did this? I am sure the whole team is devastated by this. I hope someone will look into this and make sure that justice is served.

    • Anonymous

      They know about it now.

      The name of the furniture maker is in the photo I posted.