Life

This Makati Condo is a Mini Museum of Contemporary Filipino Art

The homeowners have amassed an impressive array of contemporary art and they believe that collecting isn't a race, but a journey.
IMAGE TOTO LABRADOR
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Weaving an art collection into the rooms of a home is a design skill that is often underestimated.  While we are not fans of hard and fast set rules when it comes to decorating, it is important to have a sense of color, light, and scale when taking on this task.

The homeowners of this art-filled Salcedo Village condominium in Makati make sure that they are able to give justice to each piece of art that they hang. “It is important that we can properly see and appreciate the beauty of each work and that it isn’t too cluttered or drowned out by other things,” they say. “When grouping works together, we make sure that they all complement one another, either in color scheme, theme, style, or a combination of all three. Works of art are not meant to be wallpaper so we try to avoid stacking them nonsensically.”

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The couple started collecting when they moved in together a few years ago. Initially, they started amassing small pieces but as they acquired more knowledge about Philippine art and culture, their appreciation for Filipino contemporary art evolved into a consuming passion. Done in contemporary style, their works of art have found their perfect home—one that exudes warmth and depth.

The Entrance

Photo by TOTO LABRADOR.
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At the entrance is “Blindspot 4” by Mark Valenzuela, a piece that was exhibited for the 13 Artists Awards at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, where the artist won the distinction in 2015. The wall-bound porcelain and stoneware tags that Valenzuela meticulously baked and etched images on depict his musings about moving from his home in the Philippines to Australia where he now resides. The “displacement" of heads and limbs speak of a collective local narrative that many Filipinos experience today and in a broader sense, the concept of “displacement” that has become relevant on a global scale. On the console table are some decorative accessorized and antique religious objects. 

Hand in hand with their appreciation for art, the homeowners are also interested in many forms of design whether it be product, art, fashion, architecture, interiors, or landscaping. They are most interested in the human component of creating and assembling. They are also drawn to how artists and designers interpret the world around them using their own unique vantage points through their creations.

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The Living Room

Photo by TOTO LABRADOR.

Above: The artwork above the couch is entitled “Nonplace” by JC Jacinto fronting a pair of LYL Armchairs designed by Francesc Rifè and a light fixture by Tom Dixon. To the right is a walnut dining table paired with Lilly H dining chairs by Michele di Fonzo for FRAG and a Crown pendant light by Markus Jehs and Jürgen Laub for NEMO. 

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“We have to find the piece of furniture visually beautiful and then consider it for its functionality. Most of the time, when studying the functionality of a piece and what it can do, the beauty of its design lends itself to you,” they say. “With this understanding comes an appreciation for the careful thought that went into the design and ultimately, we decide whether it is something that can serve us well or might not be the best fit for our lifestyle.”

The Gallery

Photo by TOTO LABRADOR.
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Above: Artwork is “Insidious” by Ginny Alcaide and bench is the T904 bench designed by Gastone Rinaldi and reissued by Poltrona Frau. “This particular artwork was one of the couple’s first pieces and it recounts the artist’s own internal and physical struggles with her marriage which ultimately ended in separation. The show was a departure from her typical style of using delicate silk thread. Instead, she chose to mold with hard wire so she could “feel” what she was making. At her show, she recounted how her fingers were bleeding while she was creating the works and how it felt like the appropriate physical manifestation of her emotions. 

For those who want to start collecting, the homeowners encourage people not to get too involved in the current art frenzy but instead take their time to first really understand the significance of the works and artists they are drawn to. “Start slow and only buy things that really bring you joy, as Marie Kondo would put it. Collecting to us isn’t a race but instead a journey of growth. The more you see, the more you learn, the more you evolve and refine your tastes and ultimately become more decisive about what you really want and like.”

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The Bar

Photo by TOTO LABRADOR.

Above: On top of a modular Stick System shelf by Jan Plechac and Henry Wielgus, that serves as a well-stocked bar, is a mixed media work entitled “Baguio Fetish” by Kawayan De Guia. This piece was exhibited in a group show curated by Tony Godfrey at Art informal. While studying the artwork closely, you’ll see the Bulul marked with “K.T.” for “Kidlat Tahimik”—who is a national artist and Kawayan’s father—and the tiger on the right marked with “K.D.G” for Kawayan De Guia. Kawayan had recently lost his grandmother when he was invited to do the show and spoke about the work he made being a process of letting go. “The show gave an inside view of the processes and personalities of the artists involved which set a very personal tone to the show,” they recount. “Part of Kawayan's artistry involves chance, collecting and working on things, and ultimately waiting for the right time to use and let go of them.”

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The artwork on the upper left is by Troy Ignacio, beside it are four small textural works by Neil Dela Cruz grouped with a mixed media work by Raffy Napay. The vintage bar cart holds a collection of 1950’s sterling silver caged decanters from Hong Kong and a silver tea set. 

The Family Room

Photo by TOTO LABRADOR.
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Hanging behind the TV is a work of art entitled “Malignant Settlement” by Ioannis Sicuya. The bookshelves and entertainment console are by local furniture manufacturer Triboa Bay. In the far center is a sandpaper work entitled “Caritas II” by Ling Quisumbing Ramilo which sits beside an Ipanema armchair by Jean-Marie Massaud for Poliform. The coffee table, also locally sourced, was made from a large piece of mango tree wood and it sits on top of a Zebra rug. Hanging above the center of the room is an URBAN galvanized iron pendant lamp by Schema. To the right is a Petit Quack sofa by Guilio Cappellini and a thrifted wooden insert table from Bangkal where many local homeowners go-to source unique vintage treasures. Flanking the couch are a pair of Lumiere table lamps by Rodolfo Dordoni for Foscarini that sit on top of simple Ethan Allen side tables. Antiques and ceramics add character and color to the room. 

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The Home Office

Photo by TOTO LABRADOR.

The light fixture is a mid-century sputnik chandelier by Gebrüder Cosack. The seats to the left are a pair of Quinta chairs designed by Mario Botta, who also designed the San Francisco MoMA. They flank an artwork by Raffy Napay and a ceramic work by Pablo Capati. To the right is a wall-bound string shelving unit designed by Nils Strinning, which houses books and a collection of ceramic artworks by Ella Mendoza. The office chair is by Charles Eames. 

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For local galleries, the couple recommends ArtInformal, Underground Gallery, The Drawing Room, Silverlens, MO_Space, West Gallery, Mabini 1335, and Finale Art File. “There is such a long list of artists we truly love and admire but some of our favorites, in no particular order, are: Brisa Amir, Zean Cabangis, Kawayan De Guia, JC Jacinto, Jigger Cruz, Rodel Tapaya, Leslie De Chavez, Ronson Culibrina, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Bernie Pacquing, Ian Fabro, Nona Garcia. The list can go on and on!”

This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Alicia Colby Sy for TownandCountry.ph
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