This unique home uni­fies the raw na­ture of bru­tal­ist ar­chi­tec­tur e with the lux­ury of large open spa­ces, writes MJ Jose

Malaysia Tatler Homes - - SANCTUARIES -

The fam­ily that re­sides here has been liv­ing in this idyl­lic Makati vil­lage for quite some time now, but their ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­piece of a home con­tin­ues to com­mand at­ten­tion from passers-by. While re­search­ing for pegs that would help him come up with a look for his home, the owner stum­bled upon the con­cept of bru­tal­ist ar­chi­tec­ture, which suited his de­sign pref­er­ences per­fectly. “This was a very per­sonal project,” he says. “I wanted to cre­ate some­thing that would be the sum to­tal of which ar­chi­tec­tural and de­sign el­e­ments I like best.” Bru­tal­ist ar­chi­tec­ture was highly prom­i­nent from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. The style is char­ac­terised by rugged­ness and raw­ness, and com­bines de­tailed and ex­posed brick and con­crete work. Back in the day, it was favoured by ar­chi­tects for univer­sity build­ings, high-rise hous­ing, and shop­ping cen­tres. To help in the cre­ation of his dream house, the home­owner ap­proached ar­chi­tect, in­te­rior de­signer, and vis­ual artist Carlo Calma. “What I like about Carlo is that he takes into con­sid­er­a­tion both his clients’ pref­er­ences and his own ex­per­tise when he de­signs,” he adds. “He’s very artis­tic and edgy; he likes adding a lot of de­tails to his work.” When he be­gan work on the house, Calma set out to ex­plore dif­fer­ent ways of work­ing with its key ma­te­ri­als – con­crete and steel. “The home­own­ers were very clear with how they wanted their house to look,” he says. “Their ini­tial ideas al­lowed me to en­vi­sion the struc­ture as that of a skele­ton; the con­crete rep­re­sents the bones, and the peel­ing eff ect on the ceil­ings is the pa­per-thin skin – think of it as a way of re­veal­ing what’s in­side.” The home­owner found the idea very much to his lik­ing, and Calma man­aged to in­te­grate this ef­fect into dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the home. The de­tail­ing on the fr ont door is one of the most pr omi­nent; the peel­ing ef­fect is present, and the so -called flaps part to re­veal ar­tis­ti­cally ren­dered vein-like el­e­ments. “I’m glad I went along with the idea,” says the owner. “It adds an in­ter­est­ing touch to what could have been too spar­tan.”

There is plenty of play on the fa­cade. Aside from the front door, one’s eyes would also be drawn to the can­tilever bar, which works as a foun­tain. An­other point of in­ter­est is the makeshift tree on top of the garage. “Ini­tially, I wanted to put a real tree there,” says the owner. “Carlo had a bet­ter idea – he con­structed some­thing more in­dus­trial. And be­cause I like bi­cy­cles, you can see that the ‘plant’ sort of re­sem­bles one.” The home opens up to a large area, where the liv­ing room in­te­grates seam­lessly with the kitchen and the out­door pool. “It was very im­por­tant to me that the ar­eas ac­ces­si­ble to the public are larger than the bed­rooms,” says the owner. “These large open ar­eas make the house look big­ger, giv­ing ev­ery­one plenty of space to roam free.” For a fam­ily that loves to en­ter­tain, that’s only log­i­cal. On days when they hold so­cial gath­er­ings, they open up the glass doors that lead to the pool area, al­low­ing guests to trickle in and out as they please. The kitchen is also a spe­cial place for the fam­ily. The lady of the house is a skilled cook, and this is where she pre­pares and serves her sump­tu­ous spreads. They also have their meals here; the cosy space gives the fam­ily a feel­ing of in­ti­macy. One of the most no­tice­able el­e­ments of the kitchen is the laser-edged pan­elling that sep­a­rates it from the liv­ing room. “I spent a lot of time look­ing for doors, and the op­tions that were read­ily avail­able in the mar­ket weren’t re­ally jiv­ing with what I had in mind,” says the owner. “Carlo sug­gested mov­able pan­els. These – as well as the pan­els for the down­stairs pow­der room and up­stairs bed­rooms – were laseredged with neg­a­tive re­liefs of rock tex­ture, which con­form to the bru­tal­ist na­ture of the house.” Just out­side the kitchen is a con­crete and brass bar in­spired by the one owned by Tony Stark in The Avengers. Mix­ing drinks is one of the home­owner’s many hob­bies; and hav­ing a cool-look­ing, fully-stocked bar was a big pri­or­ity for him.

“I’m glad I went along with the idea,” says the owner. “It adds an in­ter­est­ing touch to what could have been too spar­tan”

The stair­case is an art piece on its own. Calma merged lay­er­ing tech­niques with op­ti­cal il­lu­sions to cre­ate a dy­namic struc­ture that tricks the eye. “It looks dif­fer­ent from ev­ery an­gle, and even serves all sorts of pur­poses,” adds the home­owner. The up­stairs land­ing is y et an­other large space, with glass doors that open up to a large bal­cony over­look­ing the pool. The owner likes to keep it free of clut­ter; he sees the land­ing as a space he can eas­ily con­vert and trans­form. “I think of it as a work in progress,” he says. “I can re­ally let my cre­ativ­ity out be­cause there is so much space t o play around with.” The third floor houses the bedr ooms and the mul­ti­me­dia r oom, where the fam­ily gath­ers to watch movies. “There are no t ele­vi­sions in the bedr ooms,” says the o wner. “Most of our bond­ing ses­sions are spent ei­ther her e in the mul­ti­me­dia room, the kit chen, or the pool. A ll this adds t o the non-com­part­men­talised feel that I w as go­ing for.” His famil y en­joys the open­ness as much as he does. The y used t o live in a town­house, where the spa­ces w ere quite small. Most of the fur­nish­ings in the home are cus­tom-built, but Calma also ac­quired pieces from some of the best fur­ni­tur e brands to com­plete the look of the home. “Each house [I de­sign] is unique,” he says. “It is a mar­riage of the clients’ needs and my per­sonal touch. As the ar­chi­tect, it is my re­spon­si­bil­ity that all el­e­ments blend to­gether seam­lessly.” The home­owner is more than happy with the results of the col­lab­o­ra­tions. “Carlo al­ways comes up with a va­ri­ety of in­ter­est­ing so­lu­tions and pro­pos­als. When I see some­thing that needs to be ad­dressed or up­dated, I just go back to him. The end re­sult is a mod­ern struc­ture with plenty of artis­tic el­e­ments.”

THIS PAGE The sec­ond floor land­ing has glass doors that open up to the bal­cony OP­PO­SITE, CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT A unique shelv­ing unit on the third floor land­ing; the main door is all about peel­ing, some­how show­ing the bones or struc­ture of the door; he spe­cially de­signed the mail­box; the stair­case was de­signed to trick the viewer’s eyes

THIS PAGE The kitchen is the lady of the house’s favourite room

THIS PAGE Bru­tal­ist ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments are in full play, as seen in the home’s fa­cade

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