Arts and Culture

Creativity straight from 8Rooms

ARTMAGEDDON - Igan D’Bayan - The Philippine Star
Creativity straight from 8Rooms
Infinite ways of looking at art via 8Rooms at Paseo de Magallanes.

We are mavericks,” says Raul Francisco, co-owner of Provenance Art Gallery in Shangri-La at The Fort as well as a new art space he put up with Joanna Preysler-Francisco called 8Rooms at Paseo de Magallanes. “We should constantly be thinking of how to present contemporary art.” Something similar to what Leonard Cohen deemed as new skin for the old ceremony.

“Tastes evolve,” interjects Joanna. “People change — what we need is dynamism and excitement.”

What Raul and Joanna have come up with is a gallery with a series of rooms that are fluid, malleable and ever-surprising, depending upon their respective curators.

“Each room will be a sight to behold, each space within the space is a journey in itself,” describes Joanna. “Never one-dimensional; always layered, themed and conceptual.”

She adds that the people behind 8Rooms will “arrange private viewings, curatorial advice, help collectors search for specific artworks or artists they wish to collect, take care of their framing and installation needs, and other services to ensure a most enjoyable and frictionless experience… 8Rooms is exclusive yet inclusive — because some secrets are meant to be shared.”

There are eight rooms (hence the name) that will be curated and layered differently: each with a different concept or theme. The gallery will work with creative souls to make this happen in the most exciting way, with the end goal of championing the works of Filipino contemporary artists.

Joanna Preysler-Francisco and Raul Francisco. “Tastes evolve,” says Joanna, “people change — what we need is dynamism and excitement.” “We are mavericks,” adds Raul. We should con-stantly be thinking of how to present contemporary art.”

In its inaugural exhibition, 8 Rooms featured 75 artists, designers, curators and other creatives.

Here is a sampling of the rooms that will have a revolving lineup of curators, artists, artworks and curatorial strategies:

• Rue Angelique transports visitors into an otherworldly place that fuses timelines as well as aesthetic approaches from France, Portugal, Spain and the Philippines. Joanna calls it “classic yet relevant, Old World yet desired in all worlds.”

• One room is curated by lifestyle consultant Tania Fricke Lichauco, who specializes in curating, styling and table-scaping. Joanna describes Tania as someone possessing “a magic wand that transforms and make them come alive.” For Tania, being a designer means waving her magic wand to transform spaces and makes them come alive. As she explains, “Seeing my vision ‘come to life’ from the drawing board all the way to turnover is a journey that I look forward to doing over and over again.” Joanna agrees: “No matter what space she tackles next, Tania’s golden touch is guaranteed to shine.”

• It can be said that Ram Lopez-Vito Bucoy’s signature indoor-outdoor aesthetic has its roots in the Southern Philippines, where the interior design professional grew up under the tasteful sensibilities of his mother, Stella Valderrama Lopez-Vito. Joanna explains: “Ram has developed a casually chic style that marries al fresco relaxation with the coziness of the contemporary in beautiful interiors.”

• A doctor by profession but an artist at heart, Dr. Alex Ayco is renowned for his sculptures using sustainable materials such as mango and acacia wood, as well as for his vast collection of antiques and historical objets d’art. Joanna shares, “Keeping century-old techniques by using carvers and artisans from Pampanga, Laguna and Bacolod, Dr. Ayco strikes the perfect balance of modernism with a nod to tradition.”

• Better known as “The Fan Man,” Monchet Olives is a heritage fan-maker and self-described “cultural omnivore.” Joanna says one look at the curated room of Monchet and you will see a glimpse of his work, passion and remarkable style “as he changes the world around him one abanico at a time.”

• “With Jo Claraval,” Joanna says, “is where beauty and purpose become one. Jo is all about feeling the pulse of each client, knowing exactly what to express and where to practice restraint, and always executing with precision and grace.”

An Andy Warhol portrait by Dom Laroza.

Joanna explains: “After every great depression or crisis — in this case, the pandemic — there has been a resurgence or rebirth in the art scene. People realize the importance of the spaces they love: their homes, their hearths, their offices. And they want to fill them with pieces they love. Pieces that they connect with on an emotional level, and in some cases, even a spiritual level.”

At one point, concludes Joanna, Juan Luna and Fernando Amorsolo were the contemporary artists of their time. Raul and Joanna might be helping the next great one — straight from one of the rooms out of eight.

* * *

8Rooms is at the second floor or South Park Bldg., Paseo de Magallanes Commercial Center, Makati City. At the ground floor is Raul and Joanna’s Sunday Morning Food Store, which provides a platform for home cooks, small business and heirloom family recipes. It offers a curated selection of snacks, sauces, spreads, heat & eat main dishes as well as seasonal specials.

For information on 8Rooms, call +63 917 825 2041.


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