Here’s Where “Kilay is Life” Meets a Stroke of Design Genius
The Architect of Eyebrows takes us through the design journey of the Strokes experience
Since the evolutionary trend of Brooke Shield’s bushy eyebrows in the 80s to Drew Barrymore’s sparse one liner in the 90s, the eyebrow hasn’t experienced so much attention until everyone needed them to be “on the fleek.” Since then, there was much ado about having the perfect eyebrows that spawned the “kilay is life” movement.
And this was how Momoi Supe transitioned from interior design to eyebrow architecture. “Prior to doing eyebrow tattoo, I was a makeup artist and interior designer at the same time. When I came back to Manila in 2015 after working for my former boss in Dubai for 8 months, I decided to take a microblading class in Singapore while waiting for interior design projects to be signed. A friend of mine took me to a famous permanent makeup salon for her eyebrow tattoo and there I saw the long queue for this service. This gave me an idea of how promising the business is.”
Thus, Strokes, the beauty studio, was born. Each branch is designed to welcome guests and create an experience for the customer much like entering a spa or staying at a boutique hotel. Being the designer of the studios himself, Momoi puts his love of travel at the core of his design concepts. “I love to travel and stay in luxurious boutique hotels. So when I conceptualized this store, my experiences during my travels were in my mind. I wanted my clients to experience bits and pieces of my travels whenever they visit our store. I believe that with this type of business, you don’t just sell the services but the whole experience.”
Strokes recently opened its third branch at the Shangri-la Plaza. Though it is the smallest of the three, it still carries the trademark design style of Momoi—contemporary elegance. A mixture of modern and classic, the interiors are made rich by the store’s signature taupe gray color mixed with jewel tones like emerald and garnet and punctuated by little peeks of pastel. This unique combination is then complemented with furnishings and artworks that are also tastefully chosen from different places, design eras, and styles. “Most of the decorations were bought during my travels in Asia and Europe, while the wall artworks were custom-designed by our in-house graphics team.”
Upon arriving, guests are welcomed by a wall of greenery in the cozy lobby. Momoi is also a huge fan of green walls so for this branch he incorporated this element to soften the bricks, wood, and plaster finish of the walls. While waiting, the client is seated in the intimate lounge that combines the urban with the rustic in perfect harmony. They are then led past an industrial-rustic-tropical-like art gallery to one of the treatment spaces where travel photos and graphic décor envelope them and lighten the mood. The goal is to make the clients feel more relaxed since most vacillate between excitement and fear of the cosmetic tattoo procedure.
Momoi further describes the idea behind the store’s design through his design philosophy: “Good design is good experience.” He explains: “I always believe that good interior design easily evokes nostalgia to your clients that makes them want to come back for more treatments and services. I also love symmetry and patterns as you can see on how I design and decorate things in my interiors. I guess this love for symmetry and pattern has made me a good designer of eyebrows, too.”
Strokes is located at the 5th level of the North Wing of Shangr-la Plaza Mall.