Somewhere along Katipunan avenue, in between a coffee shop and a salad place, there lies a little shop that trades in magic and creativity. You’ll know it when you see it because they’ve got a huge swing in front of their door with “Common Room” written over it.
You leave their shop with little brown bags of magic and doses of creativity – all in the form of the local arts and crafts materials that they sell. If you think the swing and the succulents by their entrance are overwhelmingly charming, you will stop in your tracks once you take a step inside. They’ve got shelves upon shelves of handmade trinkets and clever home décor, walls full of art and lettering, ceilings that hang heavy with dream catchers and starts, and rows of supplies for making your own art. Tt’s a design junkie’s dreamland.
Being the curious people we are, we at Design Made Happy asked about the design philosophy behind Common Room’s minimal wooden-floor concrete-wall space. Co-owners and sisters Roma and Maan Angsalud, the same people behind craft shop Popjunklove, admitted that they were working on a budget. “(We) just had enough to put up a well-functioning shop. We didn’t have extra for designers. So simplicity really was the main consideration when we were conceptualizing a design for the space…. All materials were purchased from local hardware shops including the pipes that hold our current shelves. Our tables and chairs were from surplus shops. Some were repurposed old drums and tires.”
Their space seems to be one huge arts and crafts project housing smaller arts and crafts projects for public pleasure. What’s not to love? It’s a place by makers, for makers, and soon-to-be makers. The simplicity of the actual space is an intelligent design move – the simpler the shop is, the more you can highlight what’s actually on the shelves. In Roma’s words, “We sincerely believed that the products were enough to give the space its needed X factor.”
We certainly agree. As of today, the space is home to more than 30 brands of the local arts and crafts community and whether they’re budding artists or established ones, all these makers seem to be thriving under the collective bravery they’re showing. Into the future, they see their audacity drawing in more crafters, more workshops, more pop-up events, and of course, more art and magic inside the space.
Despite Common Room’s actual simplicity, there’s a definite wow factor that they’ve got going strong. If you remember what it was like being a kid in a huge toy store not knowing what aisle to go crazy in first – that’s what entering Common Room feels like every time. But beyond that, what they’re aiming for is to give people an experience. “We kept saying that it’s okay for people to come to the space without the pressure of buying anything. We wanted it to be more than a retail space, really. We wanted it to be a space where they can be inspired to make and create.”
Yes ladies and gentlemen, in all senses of the phrase, they made a Common Room that’s a fit for all.
For more information about them and their upcoming events, find them on Facebook and Instagram. Better yet, go to the actual space at #325 Dela Rosa street, Katipunan Avenue. They’re open 11am-10pm Mondays through Fridays, and 9am-10pm on Saturdays.