By Johannes Chua
Launched in 2004 as Makati’s pioneer “one-stop” art and design center, LRI Design Plaza has steadily risen as the foremost destination for professionals and design/ art aficionados seeking artisan-quality interior design essentials.
From only 10 locators, it is now a sprawling, three-floor building complex that is home to over 40 local and international makers specializing in custom furniture pieces, imported quality furniture, accessories, and professional interior design services. It also has two restaurants and five art galleries (showcasing artworks by known Filipino master artists) under its wing.
While still at the apex as the first and foremost design sanctuary that attracts design-minded people from all over, LRI Design Plaza now has a new aesthetic branding transformation that will elevate further its reputation – along with its core mission to promote Filipino heritage and artisanship to a vast international audience.
From left: Interior designer Jigs Ranada Adefuin, LRI President Toni Lo, and master muralist Alfred Galvez.
Certain original structural parts like metal railings and glass façade along the stairwell were retained.
Filipino heritage can be seen in wall murals featuring the main island archipelagos.
The wall tapestries were rendered using a technique called quadraturismo (illusionistic painting).
With wood and metal as focal themes, metallic paints were chosen for the walls.
Given the challenge to execute a design that pursues this goal is award-winning interior designer Jigs Ranada Adefuin, principal designer at Adefuin Design Studio and Sigvard Selections, who was tapped as chief consultant for the renovation project.
LRI Design Plaza’s new space design concept, called “Filipinized Art Deco,” is an amalgam of artistic impressions and expertise of Adefuin and renowned Filipino master muralist, Alfred Galvez.
Fusing traditional and modern, the concept immortalized Filipino heritage through exquisite wall murals depicting rural scenes, products, and cultural nuances from the country’s three main island archipelagos.
Design with a ‘purpose’
While the focus of the renovation uplifted the morale of the space, Adefuin ensured that the concept, as per the vision of LRI Design Plaza President Toni Lo, will make the building deserving of its name and true purpose, that is, a “design hub.”
To fully achieve the look and feel of a contemporary space, Adefuin paid attention to details, starting with a cohesive design concept, choice of quality materials, and methodological execution.
In redesigning the design center, Adefuin chose metal and wood as focal theme thus metallic paints were used for the walls while Luxen luxury vinyl tiles for the flooring.
“The flooring was changed; it now has a geometric pattern. The facade was also changed. The structure was retained but Filipiniana and Art Deco design elements were injected,” he noted.
New elements, classic techniques
To add visual interest and to breathe life to LRI Design Plaza’s affinity to Filipino craftsmanship and tasteful artisan-grade designs, the Rico Renzo group tapped Alfred Galvez and his team to execute the design.
The elaborate bodies of work – wall murals located at the main corridor and spiraling tapestries woven at the stairwell of the central atrium – were rendered using a centuries-old technique called quadraturismo (illusionistic painting), in which illusory images or trompe l’eoil elements are painted onto walls or ceilings.
While the exposition of images was deployed using traditional techniques, Galvez and his team chose a more “contemporary” metallic color scheme. Completely doing away with colorful tones for the wall mural, Galvez and his team of artists played around five gray tones and platinum highlights to achieve a sophisticated “shadow and light” engraving effect.
For LRI Design Plaza President Toni Lo, the ambitious design initiative not only pushed the hub’s edge amid the arrival of foreign competition, but it more so puts into significant highlight the Filipino brand of artisanship, be it in furniture design, interior elements, and visual displays.
“Since the time it was launched as a one-stop shop for furniture, furniture accessories and art, it has undergone periodical interior design changes. This time, we want to promote LRI Design Plaza as a premium high-end destination for Philippine-made furniture meeting international standards in terms of design, pricing and quality,” Lo said.
By Philippine-made, Lo meant “hand-made, artisan, quality designs” that showcase distinct Filipino artistry. “We would like to promote export quality-made products that show the distinct Filipino talents, workmanship and designs.”
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