Monday, April 21, 2008

Filipino architect makes it to Vogue book on dream houses

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 04.20.2008

Daniel Romualdez’s work on Tory Burch’s Manhattan apartment results in a ‘dazzling residence’

Photo spread showing circular foyer of Tory Burch's 9,000-sq ft Manhattan apartment, from “Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People”

“DANIEL’S A MASTER AT taking people’s taste and making it better.”

Daniel is Filipino architect-designer Daniel Romualdez, and the praise comes from Tory Burch, better known as the New York socialite who parlayed her glamorous image into a successful contemporary fashion brand called TRB.

Romualdez’s work on Burch’s 9,000-sq ft Manhattan apartment is in “Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People,” a coffee-table book that collects “36 spectacular houses and gardens—whose owners come from the worlds of fashion, music, art and society,” as the jacket puts it.

The story, bylined by Vogue European editor at large Hamish Bowles, first appeared in a 2004 issue of the magazine.

Among the boldface names whose dwellings are celebrated in the book are Madonna, Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld, Julian Schnabel, Donna Karan, Christian Louboutin, Marella Agnelli, Sofia Copolla, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Lacroix, Gianni Versace and Bruce Weber.

First choice
Romualdez was Burch’s first choice as decorator for her Manhattan apartment, after the latter had impressed Burch with his work on an oceanfront house in Southampton that Burch’s husband had bought.

The new dwelling provided a design challenge for Romualdez, beginning with its sprawling size--three neighboring suites plus a long corridor in a hotel building. The suites had been merged to accommodate Burch’s large family of three sons and three stepdaughters.

The library in warm orange, with lampshades in mandarin silk. Orange is Burch's favorite color.

Collaborating with Burch, Romualdez thought of a design that “evoked the atmosphere of those graciously proportioned places created by Jazz Age architects such as Rosario Candela.” The results mixed classic and contemporary, stately and bohemian, casual and chic—just as Burch had wanted it.

Use of colors and fixtures
The book’s six-page spread on the apartment highlights Romualdez’s ingenious use of colors and fixtures: moss green velvet for the drawing room, accented by a luxurious silk sofa designed by Romualdez himself that paid homage to fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy; varnished burnt-orange walls and aubergine linen slipcovers for the dining room; warm orange for the library, festooned with lampshades in mandarin silk; bold boudoir red for the bar; and gleaming black and gold for a powder room.

The flair extends to the furniture, which reflected Burch’s knack for mixing “plums... with vintage haute couture finds.” She wanted “to mix it up a bit—to add some David Hicks inspirations and eclectic touches, and above all to make it comfortable.”

Burch's sons Nick (standing) and Henry playing on a luxurious silk sofa, designed by Romualdez himself, that paid homage to fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy

Real apartment
The apartment is by no means a sterile design showroom. Burch’s kids bicycle and skateboard in the long hallway--the old hotel corridor now transformed into an entrance gallery that hosts, among others, a Walton Ford painting. The Givenchy sofa may also be a play area, and the Burch twins’ bedroom, with its Crate and Barrel chairs and black-and-white color scheme, radiates coziness.

“I wanted a real family apartment. I didn’t want any rooms that the children couldn’t go into,” explained Burch.

That aesthetic also extends to TRB, her fashion line, which New York magazine has dubbed the “easy-chic style.” Burch spent many years doing PR for designers such as Loewe, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Narciso Rodriguez before striking on her own. TRB got Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement in 2005, and is now a well-established brand.

“I always get inspired by my client’s personal style,” said Romualdez of Burch’s luxe bohemian tastes. “Try to picture them—in whatever they wear to our meetings, or in the evenings—in the room.”

The verdict on their collaboration? A “dazzling residence,” wrote Vogue.

[Photos: Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People]


bingskee said...

iba talaga ang pinoy!

Anonymous said...

It's only in our own shores that Filipino architects are treated like 2nd fiddles to foreign architects. the problem with people / developers here is they want to have the name of a foreign firm to make their buildings sell. but little do they know, filipino architects din ang gumagawa nun, nasa ibang bansa lang. Example in Dubai, most of the designers there are filipino. Foreign firms appreciate fil architects better than our own.

Senor Enrique said...

A 9,000 sq. ft. apartment in Manhattan? Whoa! I'd leave it empty and just roller skate all over.

But kudos to Daniel!

beektur said...

isn't imelda marcos' uncle a daniel romuladez. could he be a son/grandson of this uncle, i.e., a cousin/nephew of imelda? the romualdez's are still a social name to reckon with, esp among the (western) noveau riche and penniless royalties- by standards of the old rich, certainly not mine. isn't imelda's niece married to a minor-titled royalty?

daniel romualdez was once quoted in a men's fashion article for wearing a $6,800 prada(?) pants.

i say, the apt is biiiig. the pieces may be expensive but in the end, it looks generic, it could be any apt featured in architectural digest. also - isn't vogue (and any conde nast publication -- save new yorker) just your preview/metro version of new yorks' gucci gang? hehehe...wala lang.

gibbs cadiz said...

hey, BINGSKEE, naman! :)

ANONYMOUS, i agree. i've heard quite a number of stories like that. :)

hey SENOR ENRIQUE, thanks for the comment! :)

BEEKTUR, true--remember the archi digests you left here? dami pa mas magaganda na nakita ko dun. but, let's look at it this way: only 36 homes were featured in the vogue book, culled from years of mag features. the designers-architects were all world-renowned. daniel romualdez was the only pinoy in that group. that makes it a good story--even if he's imelda's kin, and even if i had no idea who tory burch was, haha! :)

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