REVAMPED and REVITALIZED
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.