One step inside P&B Valises Et Compagnie Inc.’s warehouse in San Fernando, Pampanga, and you are transported into a completely different era—we’re talking talking the mid-1850s when Louis Vuitton was still a humble malletier.
Known to many as Prizmic & Brill, the company was founded in 1896 by New York-born designer Matthew Sven Brill and by Vinko Mario Prizmic, who is a novelist.
They specialize in campaign furniture, which was historically made for military campaigns. This type of décor is specifically made to break down or fold for ease of travel. Of course today, lugging around anything but a polycarbonate suitcase would not be described as “easy.”
“Once upon a time, that was our theme,” starts Matthew who, at 58 years old, still designs every piece that his company produces. “We wanted a classic Spanish colonial gentleman as a face, and we figured General Luna would be a good fit.”
While they do have sets of trunks and luggage that can be used for travel, most of their clients, such as the Peninsula in Hong Kong, Blakes Hotel in London, and Don Young Safari in Africa, prefer to use them as display and furniture pieces.
In June 2007, they figured in a cover story for US Vogue featuring Keira Knightley who is shown using one of their campaign desks and chairs in a safari-themed shoot.
Currently, their warehouse features a packing area with a set of identical closet designs meant for a hotel in Dubai, coffee tables bearing a map of Kenya ordered by a lodge in Nairobi, and a suite of trunks commissioned by a private customer.
Though every piece is destined for a different part of the world, Matthew has made sure that every one is handcrafted and made with locally sourced raw materials. Using mahogany wood, rattan, hand-dipped hides, brass, glass, and textiles—these aren’t exactly the lightest materials for traveling, but hey, at least you’ll be doing it in style.
Prizmic & Brill. For a list of locations, visit their website.
Photos by Artu Nepomuceno
Source: Meg Manzano for Inquirer RED, “Colonial Mentality,” July 2015