Filipino Capiz Artisans’ Collaboration

For thousands of years, people have been interested in the customs, textiles and artwork, not to mention culinary creations, of other cultures around the world. Historical trade routes saw traveling merchants head through East Asia, India and the Sahara Desert in order to show off distinctive goods. At west elm, we feel inspired, and we know you are as well, by the adventurous spirit of those explorers and traders. We scour the globe to find incredible accent pieces with an international twist, collaborating with experienced local artists to share their creations with you. The idea is for you to have diverse possibilities to choose from when customizing your home’s decor. That’s how our Filipino Capiz Artisans’ Collaboration was born. What exactly is capiz?


Capiz refers to the shells of an oyster, also called the windowpane oyster, that is found and cultivated in the Philippines, specifically in a region of the country known as Capiz. Unlike other marine shells, capiz is almost completely translucent inside and out. Capiz has an appearance very similar to opal and pearl. That gives it a brilliant, shiny glow that’s enhanced even more when you shine light through it. The result is diffuse light with a mixture of warmth and calm. Filipino capiz artisans turn these shells into light shades for pendant lights, chandeliers, mosaics and other kinds of exotic artwork.


What does capiz decor do for a space? Capiz is bright and elegant but also has a laid-back and open ambience. That makes it ideal for rooms where you want to relax or entertain. It conserves a lot of the coastal atmosphere of the Philippines, combined with a strong sense of art. Because capiz has a pearly appearance, it works well in white or neutral spaces where you’re going for an open and spacious vibe. Once you turn on the lights, its gentle glow has you swaying to soft music, laughing with friends and sipping cocktails until sunset.


Coastal dining rooms vary somewhat depending on what area of the world you adore. A tropical beach ambience focuses on vibrant colors and deep wood furniture with paintings, vases and pottery for decor. This kind of a dining room is about enjoying life to the max with the people you love. Mediterranean coastal decor also focuses on good food and family and adds some traditional Greek and Italian elements like brick, stone, tile and marble. In this kind of sophisticated dining room, use mirrors, glass tables, metal chairs and subdued ocean tones like light blue or green. A vintage buffet and bar cart for drinks elevates any occasion while still making guests feel right at home. A capiz chandelier overhead fits both tropical and Mediterranean coastal styles beautifully.


Are you into midcentury or retro chic designs? One idea is to create a living room conversation space that includes circular themes. Round contours look awesome in retro decor, and there are many possibilities to bring them to life. Start from the ground up with a round rug that has tons of texture. Arrange this kind of entertaining area so it’s easy for everyone to share in the conversation. There’s no need to stick with a single type of seating. Depending on how eclectic you want to go, you can include a mixture of bean bag chairs, ottomans and armchairs. A spherical capiz pendant overhead adds an artistic touch, and you can complement it with a floor lamp that has multiple lights for an extra glow. Of course, not all your decor has to be round in this theme. You can toss in a few accent tables featuring sharp geometric shapes for contrast. Colors like tangerine, lime green, chocolate, aquamarine and pink, paired with plenty of white, transport you straight to the fashion of the 1960s.