Town & Country (Philippines) - - OUT & ABOUT CULTURE TOP TEN -

While plan­ning for the open­ing of Art­in­for­mal’s Makati branch, gal­lerist Tina Fer­nan­dez de­cided on a re­brand which in­volved tweak­ing the logo, re­vamp­ing the orig­i­nal Green­hills gallery’s in­te­ri­ors, con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing the new branch’s de­sign, and re­defin­ing her pro­grams. Fer­nan­dez as­sem­bled a stellar team of creatives to help her re­al­ize her vi­sion.

The re­vamp started with the logo, now with low­er­case fonts to echo the gallery’s re­laxed char­ac­ter; two dots pro­vide a vis­ual an­chor that al­ludes to the two sites. Ar­chi­tects Sonny Sunga and Arnold Aus­tria up­dated the Green­hills gallery (now called AI1), open­ing the spa­ces out front to make it more wel­com­ing.

The Makati out­post, or AI2, proved to be a bit of a chal­lenge. For­merly an of­fice, Sunga and Arnold had to pre­pare the site to fit the usual gallery re­quire­ments. The de­sign also had to con­form to Fer­nan­dez’s straight­for­ward man­date for the in­te­ri­ors to be sim­ple, where, ac­cord­ing to her, “art is the star.”

Sunga and Aus­tria gut­ted the en­tire space, strip­ping off the wooden planks and knock­ing down di­viders to make ex­pan­sive plains for dis­play­ing art. The ar­chi­tects nod­ded to its her­itage by ex­press­ing its in­dus­trial char­ac­ter while also adding fresh ges­tures, such as the metal rail­ings and mesh, ce­ment floor­ing.

Fer­nan­dez called on WE De­sign’s Mark Wil­son and Nikki Escalona Tayag for AI1’s light­ing re­quire­ments. “The in­ten­tion was to sup­port the ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign of the ar­chi­tects and the as­pi­ra­tions of Tina Fer­nan­dez,” Wil­son ex­plained, “but of course we ap­plied our usual sig­na­ture, which is light­ing de­sign with high vis­ual com­fort and style, in­clud­ing at­ten­u­at­ing the perime­ters of the space so that pro­por­tion and vol­umes are ac­cen­tu­ated.“

Spe­cial at­ten­tion was paid to spa­ces de­voted to en­ter­tain­ing. The open back­room flows to a cozy lounge area re­plete with a bar. The ground floor’s din­ing space was, ac­cord­ing to Wil­son, a salute to AI1’s kitchen. “I sug­gested this be­cause the vol­ume of this space re­called, to my mind, the spa­tial vol­ume of the kitchen at the old Art­in­for­mal, where every­body liked to con­gre­gate and hang out. The essence of that homage is a wall fea­tur­ing five sconces made out of din­ner plates and wa­ter glasses, quin­tes­sen­tial com­po­nents of any space where food and con­ver­sa­tion take place.”

AI1 and AI2 may have a sim­i­lar look and feel, but Fer­nan­dez de­cided to dif­fer­en­ti­ate their pro­grams so that vis­i­tors can have a unique ex­pe­ri­ence. “For AI1, I wanted a strong con­cept in or­der to draw the view­ers. I’m work­ing with cu­ra­tors who will choose the artists. This makes it more ex­cit­ing be­cause the view­ers will be pre­sented with an­gles and ideas that will make them look at the ex­hi­bi­tion in its en­tirety, not only at each artist’s work in­di­vid­u­ally. For AI2, I choose the artists for solo ex­hi­bi­tions that will show view­ers their cur­rent body of work and how th­ese are pre­sented in the con­text of an ex­hi­bi­tion.”

Af­ter open­ing in Fe­bru­ary with a three-woman show, fea­tur­ing works by Brisa Amir, Tosha Al­bor, and Christina Dy, AI2’s fol­lows up with a three-man ex­hi­bi­tion, run­ning from April 21 to May 19, head­lined by Juan Al­cazaren, An­gel Ulama, and Costantino Zicarelli. The Al­ley at Kar­rivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Ro­ces Av­enue Ex­ten­sion, Makati; 725. 8518. D.D.V.

PLEASED TO MEET yOU In­side the new AI2, de­signed by ar­chi­tects Sonny Sunga and Arnold Aus­tria, with light­ing by Mark wil­son and Nikki Escalona Tayag of wE De­sign.


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