Clair Concepcion-Barberis Finds Soul Purpose In Creative Pursuits

Clair Concepcion-Barberis talks about her journey of manufacturing unique handcrafted objects and furniture while transforming in-house skilled workers into proud creatives and artisans. 

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s December 2023-January 2024 Issue.

“I would like to think that design, an entrepreneurial spirit, and belief in the strength of community have always been dominant elements in my life.” Wise words from uber renaissance woman Clair Concepcion Barberis, who’s been in, all over, out of the scene, and now back with this burst of creativity and enigmatic energy ready to unfold ARTIFEKS: to the world.

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Clair Concepcion-Barberis
Clair Concepcion-Barberis, founder of ARTIFEKS:


Being the founder and creative director of this luxe brand (sometimes all-around driver, purchaser, service), she has found soul purpose in manufacturing unique handcrafted objects and furniture by sustaining an integrated workshop with in-house artisans of extensive experience and skilled in various disciplines such as metalworks, resin, wood carving, and textile, as well as local materials, weaving, and finishing. 

Clair Concepcion-Barberis
The former supermodel is one of the muses of renowned Filipino bag designer Rafe Totengco

A challenge made possible that can only be imagined by a beautiful mind, she adds, “Finding workers with 15 to 30 years of experience was the easy part. The key was honing the creatives, expanding their world to include other cultures and their art, the concept of sustainability in resource efficiency and generative learning, in the overall uplifting of their standards of professionalism.”

This creative artist’s passion and compassion for her heart-full work comes from a soul full of substance where everything has a meaning. ARTIFEKS: is a post-pandemic project that started almost two years ago. The word comes from the Latin term artifex (meaning artisan), craftspeople who make things by hand. The distinctive K from our Filipino alphabet represents our workers who were employees at automotive and welding shops.

Printed sugar cane fabric by Kanya.PH
Furniture and light fixtures use printed sugar cane fabric by Kanya.PH

The journey of the creative work is punctuated by a colon, much like a signature of the maker.

As a creative, this genius and her team’s endless collaborative journey through creativity never stops. Their fusion of minds create noteworthy masterpieces that tell a story. Clair says, “Having a workshop is like a playground, everyday is a creative ‘A-ha’ moment. Inspiration is borne from my environment, nature, travels, conversations, sidewalk vendors, markets, which transforms into admiration, curiosity, the challenge of improvement in aesthetics, and efficacy.” Apart from the fulfillment that comes from design and handiwork, this artist is focused on the aspects of sustainability and in raising the standards of creative work through generative learning, from the worker level to artisanal craftsmanship.

Clair Concepcion-Barberis in her element
In her element


But who is Clair Concepcion- Barberis? To those who are unfamiliar and fairly new to fashion, this former supermodel is one of the muses of iconic Filipino bag designer Rafe Totengco. Design and style were always inherent to her as her love for sketching transformed into owning a garments factory and a clothing brand for a decade, plus redecorating interior and exterior personal homes and spaces on the side. 

Clair Concepcion-Barberis
A light moment during the Lifestyle Asia’s photo shoot in the ARTIFEKS: workshop

Later on, this mother of two evolved into running a corporate training center and pool of resource persons specializing in experiential leadership programs and into finally starting the first touch rugby club in the Philippines, participating and supporting all that is touch rugby and rugby until today. This built the strength of her very core to push and move her forward to the now, which is ARTIFEKS:. 

This guiding star to many is braving the forefront in her own path with a courage that lives in the now. “The constant curiosity in the unfamiliar and the challenge of understanding a foreign concept, then absorbing the incredible learnings that come with improving oneself, and paying it forward is what makes me look into the mirror and say, ‘Let’s do it again tomorrow,’” shares Clair.

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia December 2023-January 2024 magazine via or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Photos by Excel Panlaque of Kliq, Inc.

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