Italian fashion great Giorgio Armani, whose name is synonymous with minimalism and understated elegance, is making an imprint in the Philippines.

Century Spire, the mixed-use high-rise of Century Properties along Kalayaan Avenue, Makati, is the first project in Asia for his home furnishing and design firm, Armani Casa. Armani is designing the public areas, and has recently launched the condominium showrooms at the Pacific Star building.

“I am familiar with the movies and photographs from the Philippines,” Armani told Inquirer Lifestyle in an e-mail interview. “The images that strike me are the strength and exuberance of its nature, wealth of vegetation, and magnificence of flowers, such as orchids.”

“It’s a world that reinvents nature, enhancing it and changing its direction in an expansive movement,” said Armani. “This coincides with the development of metropolitan cities such as Manila and Makati. The latter is one of the largest economic centers in Asia, where the best in innovation and design is displayed. This is why I enthusiastically agreed to work with Century Properties; uniting my vision with that of (architect) Daniel Libeskind. This will lead to the creation of exceptional places, defined by their unique charm and elegance.”

As in his well-cut clothes, Armani’s interiors, furniture, kitchen and bathrooms reflect his aesthetic of a monochromatic palette, timeless appeal and refinement.

“We studied specific solutions for the project, and each apartment has a different color identity that highlights the characteristics of individual housing types,” said the 80-year-old designer, referring to the units that range from suites to the large two-bedroom units.

Elements of Armani’s fascination with Oriental Art Deco appear in his choice of colors and textures.

“Clean lines and pure shapes are enhanced by colors that range from jade green, silver gray, blue and gold to orange,” he said. “To emphasize the hue’s sophistication, precious materials such as gold leaf, onyx, silk and lacquer were used.”

The designer favors natural materials such as stone, wood and leather for their richness and sensuality.

Armani said his designs for Century Spire’s amenities will exude intimacy and ease. Inhabitants will feel relaxed in the midst of luxurious finishes. “The harmony between space and color, the relationship between the common areas such as the library, swimming pool, relaxation area and juice bar, residential lobby, the private areas… will imply true comfort,” he explained.

When visiting the showrooms, one would notice Armani’s spartan style—the contrast of soft neutrals with darker colors to ground the space and the restrained use of embellishments. The décor is derived from the expensive surface treatments and textures from the furniture.

We were told that Armani was particular about every detail, down to the placement of the table accessories. An Italian photographer took images of the model units which were sent to Armani for his approval.

Asked how he could produce a minimalist look without making it look boring, Armani explained: “Foremost, a careful study of the distribution, division and proportion of space… It’s a complex analysis, given the distinctive traits of the structures.

“Hence, it lies in the importance of details, the beauty and fullness of surfaces and fabrics and the overall quality of the environment, in which a lifetime of experience is  reflected.”

Armani said there are other considerations: “It is also found in the attention to latest-generation materials that, when layered, create ‘dressed’ walls, treated like a garment to characterize the architecture,” he explained.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer | July 16, 2014