Exquisite Spreads: For Pinky Tobiano, Tablescaping is a Form of Art

The chemist and entrepreneur says that creating beautiful Tablescapes with love makes the dining experience all the more joyful and unforgettable.

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Social engagements have been few in the past year, but it opened the way for people to be inventive in dining at home. From having exquisite tableware and cutlery to adding ornaments, table setups go beyond simply arranging them.

“Tablescaping is my form of art,” says chemist and entrepreneur Pinky Tobiano. “The table is my canvass and the flowers, plates, and other accessories are my watercolors.” As she loves entertaining family and friends, she treats every table setting as her next masterpiece.

With her signature maximalist style, Tobiano goes to great lengths in constructing her tables for get-togethers, themed parties, or simple dinners with friends. Doing Sunday brunches is her favorite. “It has been a tradition in my home… my children Pianne and Karrel are always excited,” she says. “I go over and beyond in all my tables, giving it a catharsis of joy in each masterpiece.”

To the extreme

Setting up tables entails thoughtful preparation and for Tobiano, she favors matching the personality of the table to the person she is honoring the dinner for. From here, she constructs a theme that dictates the content and the style of the tablescape.

A cup from the Hermès Carnets d’Equateur dinnerware line

Once the theme is finalized, she chooses the right color palette and adds the accessories such as name cards, menu cards, and natural elements like florals—fresh or dried ones.

“My tables are normally extreme,” she describes, taking inspiration from the sensational floral designs and installations of American designer Jeff Leatham. “His fusion of colors is enamored by his artistic passion for perfection, brand, or your art and style influences,” she explains. Currently, Tobiano and her team are learning to create Leatham’s aerial tablescapes.

Tobiano shares that while it is delightful to see the final setup, the process can come with challenges. Finding enough warehouse space to store her extensive collection is among her difficulties. With hundreds of tableware, cutlery, and table accessories, and even dried florals and ornaments, all these require meticulous care and ample space.

Curated with love

Fortunately, her husband Juancho is helping her to build her dream storage. Even good friends and esteemed interior designers Ivy and Cynthia Almario are reaching out to design the warehouse. “I can’t wait to see it and store all my things,” Tobiano says. “This gives me a reason to buy more accessories,” she says in jest.

Of all the tablescapes Tobiano had created, her most memorable was one set up during the birthday of her daughter Pianne. “It was filled with love and I made sure it matched my daughter’s personality. Every detail was carefully studied,” she explains.

““The table is my canvass and the flowers, plates, and other accessories are my watercolors,” Tobiano says

For the tablescape designer, doing it out of love is the most essential part. It began as a personal interest. Yet it grew into a commitment to understanding the character of the person she is designing the table for, and how it can make them happy.

“One of the most beautiful breakthroughs of this passion is that I was given the opportunity to share my talent and inspire thousands of Filipinos here and abroad as I start my TV show in ANC and TFC titled Table Love by Pinky.”

The show will feature different celebrities and how Tobiano and her team will transform their dining tables. She highly anticipates this, looking forward to seeing the “priceless expressions” of friends and guests.

From Bangkok to the Sunday Market in Paris, Tobiano scours for opulent table accessories and ornaments that highlight the sophisticated feel of her tablescapes

“Everyone needs seeds of love and positivity,” she says, referring to how these difficult times have dampened the spirits of many. But through Table Love by Pinky, she hopes the beauty and attention the tablescapes exhibit can impart light and love to people. After all, she believes, “a happy table creates beautiful memories that last a lifetime.”

The full story on Pinky Tobiano is in Volume 2 of Lifestyle Asia 2021

Photographs by Kieran Punay of Studio 100

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