Why Not Make Furniture from Airplane Parts?

Introducing Flight Pattern, a furniture collection made from discarded airplane parts.

“I have a friend in Australia who sources and gathers vintage pieces and metal parts. Last year, he showed me these airplane parts that [he found], so I got curious,” shares Wilmer Lopez, president and creative director at Space Encounters, a design and furniture studio.

Wilmer had the airplane parts shipped to the Philippines and was looking for something to do with them when he came up with the idea for a new collection in time for the 10th anniversary of Space Encounters. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we make furniture out of these airplane parts?’” he says.

Upcycling artist Paco Pili was tapped for this collection, Wilmer says, because “I wanted someone who could execute the collection really well — someone with expertise — and he’s that person. When I showed him the airplane parts, he was immediately excited to collaborate with us.”

That’s when Flight Pattern really started to, well, take off. The name of the collection symbolizes the trajectory of Space Encounters and where it’s headed in the future, says the company’s senior interior designer, Gelo Cruz. “Like an airplane that goes from the runway to take off to reaching its peak — that’s the path we’re following too.”

1. A new spin on things

“I found it amazing how Paco [turned] the spinner cap into a backrest, and how someone can give new life to a used
[airplane part] and make it something nice,” says senior designer Gelo Cruz of the Spinner Chair. 40,000

2. Props to you

Paco fashioned a propeller spinner cap into the Spinner Side Table, which looks like it came straight out of The Jetsons. “This piece is the simplest but turned out to be one of the hardest to build. We couldn’t find someone who could cut the curved edges of the glass to precisely [fit the spinner cap], and we didn’t want to cut the top off just to put on the glass, so we opted for a clear acrylic sheet instead,” says Gelo. 28,000

3.Winging it

The aircraft wing outboard flap used to make the Wing Console Table was too big to ship whole, so the team cut the part in two. With the second piece, they built the Wing Coffee Table (not pictured). 42,000

4.Turbo charged

The Turbine Ottoman, made of a repurposed airplane turbine that’s fitted with an upholstered cowhide leather seat, is Paco’s favorite piece in the collection. “We had a lot of options on how to repurpose this piece — a mirror, a coffee table — but Paco suggested building an ottoman out of the turbine engine cap. He sent the design to us and we were all amazed by his idea. All we asked was [that] he retain the original distressed finish [of the piece],” says Gelo. 65,000

5.Cabin fever

Made by bringing together a panel box sourced from NAIA that Paco had lying around his shop and two vintage airplane windows that were part of the shipment brought in from Australia, the Cabin Armoire has a timeless quality that Wilmer loves. “You cannot tell what era [it’s from],” he says. 75,000

6.Onboard entertainment

The original plan was to transform an airplane food storage ice box into a side table, but Paco thought of creating an icebox to keep drinks cold. “He designed it brilliantly, [adding] wheels and a retractable trolley to the box for better accessibility and functionality. The box is detachable [from] the trolley so you can drain the water easily,” Gelo points out. 35,000

This article first appeared in the August 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

Written by

Maggie Adan

Photographed by

Miguel Nacianceno

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