Talk About Splurge! This is What A 1 Million Peso Ceiling Looks Like!

Josen Santos was quite the ideal client, never complaining that the planning, designing, and preparation process of his 80-sqm unit was taking so long. He knew that all that diligence would pay off in the execution. He also didn’t seem to mind the one-million peso price tag just for the ceiling—his home’s crowning glory.

According to Architect Jason Buensalido of Buensalido + Architects—known for his ability to adapt Philippine design into contemporary interpretations—the ceiling design was taken from the woven strips of a banig. During his first meeting with Josen, Jason observed that his client had a contemporary aesthetic from having lived in Hong Kong for 24 years, a global perspective from traveling and experiencing different cultures, and the same time, a “Filipinoness” that he wanted to retain.

The construction of this marriage of opposites took about three months only to complete, but the planning and preparation took a year. As a matter of practice, Jason’s team focuses on functionality before aesthetics, making sure the client understands and is comfortable with the layout.

Read More: Statement Ceilings: The Latest Trend Is Right Above You!

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Jason adds, “Obviously, the seamless ceiling feature was the most challenging and the most expensive. It’s a difficult feature to build and execute because of its free-form shape and its unconventional design. We diligently detailed each ‘fin’ so that the builder would have an easier time constructing it. With our drawings, the builder was able to fabricate most of the ‘fins’ off-site and assemble it on-site. We interpreted the seamless curved surfaces into a series of diamonds. The segments are all straight, but when you look at the whole thing, they form the sweeping curves of a banig.

“We wanted his new condo to express this beautiful contradiction, so we proposed a glocal space—a home that is both global and local, that combines international sensibilities with a vernacular language,” says Jason.

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The sculptural ceiling dips and swells, taking front, back, and center stage in this contemporary Filipino space. The strategic placement of LED lighting passing through the weave patterns of the ceiling, as well as the geometric sculptural forms of some furniture pieces, adds dramatic effects to the space.

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The other major change in the renovation project entailed tearing down a solid partition between the living area and bedroom, and replacing it with sliding glass doors. What drove this decision was the wavy ceiling, which Jason wanted Josen to appreciate whether looking out at the living room from inside the bedroom, or looking into the bedroom from the living room. For privacy, Josen can pull down roller shades in addition to sliding the glass doors closed.

In the dining, the ceiling also functions as droplight, as it dips exactly where the dining table is. Behind the dining table is a painting chosen by Josen, Conversations on the Same Path by Arden Mopera.

Read More: Lighting 101: The 3 Types of Lighting Fixtures and Where Best to Use Them

condoliving contemporary filipino condo the fort bgc buensalido + architects

Another artwork by Mopera, Glorify You, is displayed to the left of the platform bed from BoConcept in the bedroom, beside the compact working space. To the right are two of Toti Cerda’s works, Four Boys in The Rain and Girl in the Rain. These artworks and the whole space of the bedroom are illuminated by pools of glowing LED lights and gentle shadows on the wafting ceiling, adding to the feeling of quiet and relaxation in the bedroom. The canopy-like feeling of the treatment in the bedroom gives a sense of intimacy, seclusion and of being cradled in softness.

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The glocal concept is supported by the choice of furniture pieces. Iconic Filipino pieces by Kenneth Cobonpue and Vito Selma sit comfortably with foreign brands like Bo Concept and Moroso. The interior design in earth tones sets the laidback and inviting ambiance.

The overall effect is so bold and distinct that the home does not require additional embellishment. The walls are finished simply in raw cement, and the cabinetry and floor in wood. There are a few accessories, presumably because Jason’s interior architecture is all the accessorizing one needs, although Jason says the reason he doesn’t over decorate is to leave room for his clients to add their own decoration, and in that way express themselves.

This story first appeared on CondoLiving Vol. 9.2 2014. Edits have been made for


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