Bianca Zobel Warns, her sister Natalia Zobel and their long time friend Maria Parsons have been conceptualizing and hosting events, centered on unique dining experiences, for over 10 years. Entertaining is part of their lifestyle. They drew from home life experiences, from times spent with their grandparents, how food was prepared and set on the table, the accent pieces and accouterments that enhanced spaces and interiors.
They also translated their travels into tablescapes of colors and textures. Fashion finds added to the accumulated cache, which family and friends appreciated and were willing to pay for. It was a natural consequence that the threesome would become officially incorporated as Lanai, a concept store for eclectic, unique finds for the home and wardrobe.
There are four different spaces in the shop, designating Ropa for artisanal clothes, Café for the marriage of familiar and nostalgic flavors, Flores for floral requirements and Casa, that highlighted worldclass Filipino craftsmanship among home accessories sourced from different parts of the globe. “It is about the classic, the timeless and the exotic coming together effortlessly,” Bianca says.
Access to their carefully selected collection further enhanced their entertaining table. The Café, however, seats a maximum of 30 people. Bianca, who normally has guests over weekly, prefers to get together at her residence. She describes her signature as “entertaining comfortably and stylishly.” The president of Lanai enjoys the process of conceptualizing and planning, thinking around the occasion for the party, the time of day, the number of people. “Then I come up with a menu and a theme. The flowers and everything else follows after that.”
The Lanai ladies lean towards maximalist. “We love the flowers to look rich and dense,” Bianca says of the arrangements that she and her partners put together. “Our settings have a lot going on, depending on the food service. If it’s plated, we can do more with the table. It’s a little more restrained with Russian or family style.
“We mix old pieces with modern trends. We apply old world customs such as name cards and add smaller, silver items passed from our lola, like candelabras and vintage toothpick holders. These are mixed with new, playful, colored acrylic glasses or colored napkins.” Having three individual styles that work all on one table contributes to the uniqueness of their set-ups.
Bianca admits to limited culinary skills but ensures that the palate is pleased. “I don’t cook but I choose every last thing on the table. I personally select the food, the flowers, the music.”
She shares a few ideas for creating fun and different parties. “To enhance dinners, you may have a dress code and make people come according to a theme. This is very European. You rarely go to a party in Europe without a very strongly suggested theme. It can be a lot of fun if everyone gets into it.”
Movement is another element that she encourages. “I suggest separating areas if space allows. Cocktails can be in one place and dinner in another with dancing in a different part of the house. Every new place gives off a new vibe.”
She mentions good music and a comfortable indoor and outdoor sofa set-up where guests can enjoy different parts of the house.
Bianca, Natalia and Maria willingly obliged to prepare lunch in the family getaway, miles from the city. The set-up in the garden was done under the shade of tall trees, surrounded by local flora and lush greenery. Later in the day, they spread locally woven mats in another part of the property with a panoramic view of the sky transitioning from afternoon to early evening. It was sunset cocktails amidst Stonehenge-like rocks, brought in from a neighboring Asian country. They nibbled local pica-pica and poured sangria from a pitcher. By evening, the glow from moon-like orbs, solar-lit around the picnic area, added a touch of evening mysticism. Even as it was out of the ordinary, the setting came together effortlessly, conjured by imagination, curatorship and fine tastes.
Elements of Garden Lunch Setting
Spring Floral arrangement
Edzard Champagne-Cooler/Wine Cooler Tromba with two ring handles
The curved, conical, bottle cooler is QualiPlated® silver plating, which is stronger than regular plating and has a lifetime guarantee
Edzard Kreta Jug
The carafe in glossy QualiPlated® silver plating has a capacity of 1.3 liters
Pols Potten Monkey candle holder
A sitting chimpanzee with two branches that can hold seven candles is made from nickel plated brass and is approximately 40 cm. high and 31 cm in diameter
What To Use For Sunset Cocktail
Super Milly tumbler
Designed with a modern twist, the glassware collection is made from acrylic and has the luster of solid glass
The acrylic tray measures 17 inches x 13 inches and is made of the highest quality and clarity of acrylics and melamine. Virtually unbreakable and dishwasher safe, the Mario Luca Giusti design looks like crystal
Revere silver bowl
The sterling silver bowl has a diameter of 5.25 inches and was named after the American patriot Paul Revere
De la Robia tray
Practical and elegant, the acrylic server is made in Italy. Described as a style between fusion and pop, the tray looks like glass, is made in Italy
Filippo ice bucket
The transparent acrylic ice bucket was used as a vase and resembles a carved piece of ice
Crafted from practical material, the acrylic beverage holder imitates the beauty of solid crystal
Lente small bowls
The surface of the acrylic bowl is designed with large, uniform dots that magnify the opposite surface to crteate a bubbling visual effect.
SEE OTHER PHOTOS FROM BIANCA WARNS, NATALIA ZOBEL AND MARIA PARSONS’ TABLESCAPES AND PARTY SETUP CREATED BY USING PIECES FROM LANAI…
Text by Anna Sobrepena
Photography by Mark Nicdao (portraits) and James Bautista (tablescapes)
LANAI is located at C-4 The Alley at Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Ave, Makati, 1223 Metro Manila, Philippines
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