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Modern Living

Creating your own private space

- Rebecca C. Rodriguez -
The notion of creating beauty in interior design is alien to most people. There is a misconception that it is synonymous with interior decorating. However, interior design goes beyond that – it is more like the art and science of sculpting space to make it livable.

Ah, space. The perfect example is British artist Damien Hirst. He created sculptures depicting fragility that exists in its own space. This definitely should not be the case in condominium units because you don’t want to feel so boxed in or contained.

Since space is an important factor to consider, Ayala Land Premier (ALP) commissioned top interior designers to create model units for The Residences at Greenbelt with different residents in mind.

For The Residences’ Manila Tower, the third and final tower, ALP tapped Tina Periquet of Periquet Galicia, Inc. to design the one-bedroom executive model unit. A graduate of the Pratt Institute of Design in New York, she was faced with the challenge of making a square condo space look absolutely big.

Her approach was to empty the place and give it a stark treatment. Imagine space unfolding, opening up and revealing itself slowly. Unlike most condo units, this particular one has an entrance that looks confined. However, the foyer full of Chinese brush-ink paintings by Sherwin Tan, which are ingeniously lit from behind, give it luminosity. As you approach the living room, the unit appears bigger.

"It is like entering a realm of the senses," explains Periquet. "There is a psychological sense of the space being large, feeling rich, textured and every bit as satisfying as you find in large houses. We call this going outside the box – you feel a sense of vastness, expansiveness and airiness. The variation of experiences gives you a sense that you are in a large space."

This makes you wonder about Periquet’s design process for the Manila Tower’s one-bedroom executive unit. For sure, she focuses on the perfect mix between function and aesthetics. In fact, it is a marriage between the creative and the practical.

Just like the entrance to the unit. From the door, the passage takes you to the central pavilion. It serves as a multi-tasking space, which can be a dining hall and an entrance hall. Again, there is a feeling of moving from the inside to outside as the space moves freely to the main living area.

Periquet elaborates that everything goes beyond style, decorating and making something look pretty. For her, there is a deep, underlying sense of the inevitable: there is rightness – elements should be exactly in their right places and the focus is not just on making the space look bigger but making it feel right.

The truth is, living in a condominium, because of its very nature, can give the feeling as though you are out of touch from the ground. There should be the utmost balance of design elements like color, materials and even furniture to make you feeling grounded.

For the pavilion walls, Periquet made use of sliding glass doors with glazed panels to give them a translucent effect. Yes, the ability to move walls empowers you. Your needs are met either way: it makes your space feel like a large room while maintaining privacy. The great thing is, a portion of the wall is made of latticed wood – it creates a barrier and at the same time allows one to see the space beyond.

As much as possible, Periquet tries to minimize personal touches. Instead, one thing that stands out from this model unit is the quality of light. Having a lighting background, she looks on how daylight can be harnessed. Then, she enhances the model unit with artificial lighting that allows the eyes to focus on certain things.

"Most people can’t figure out the ability to manipulate light because it is almost intangible," says Periquet. "It’s like a choreography – you train the eye to look in certain ways and at certain things. If you have proper lighting, the eyes can see wonder and rest. There is a subtle deliberateness on how the eye moves."

Furniture, says Periquet, should not overpower space but rather work with it. There is an eight-foot-long sofa that can be converted into a bed. Lamps are suspended from a thin metal chord. The living room can be a nice work area with the wall made of dark wood used as storage or for displaying items. The multi-functional desk tray has a cantilevered slab, perfect for laptops or can as a coffee table.

The color palette she used has a strong contrast. Pure black and pure white colors can be quite cold but Periquet warmed up the colors up by putting tone and texture on the whites.

Periquet stressed the importance of bringing elements of nature into the condo unit. There should be a strong presence of natural materials like hand-made rugs, linen and cotton fabrics.

She used wood to enlarge and warm even the most clinical of spaces. Instead of using synthetics, laminates or look-alike wood, she used dark-stained wood like mahogany for structural elements and narra for furniture to complement the bamboo floor.

Periquet concludes, "I invest 50 percent of the effort on science or the function of making the place efficient. I make sure that the space is returned for every square inch. The other 50 percent is devoted to art. The outcome should not be just a place where you can live but rather where you feel good in, feel alive and, of course, live the way you want to."

Tina Periquet is a practical "scientist" and creative artist in the world of interior design. With her Eastern and Western background, she has the best of both worlds – a mystical, intuitive side coupled with a scientific approach to make a dream living environment.
* * *
Model units of The Residences at Greenbelt are available for viewing at the 3rd level of Greenbelt 3. For more information, call 728-7000, or log on to www.theresidencesatgreenbelt.com.

AYALA LAND PREMIER

DAMIEN HIRST

DESIGN

EASTERN AND WESTERN

FOR THE RESIDENCES

MANILA TOWER

NEW YORK

PERIQUET

PRATT INSTITUTE OF DESIGN

SPACE

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