View of the house from the main pedestrian gate, which shows off the combined East-West motif of ryokan-inspired posts, screens and awnings, and Roman floor tile patterns used as a design motif for the pedestrian gate and main entrance.


Japanese meets continental modern in this Nazareno-Dy collaboration

Anthony Nazareno and Charles Dy's collaboration results in a unique hybrid of a house: Japanese inspired on the outside, Continental Modern on the inside

  • June 10, 2020

  • Written by Reuben Ramas Cañete, PhD

  • Photographed by Ed Simon

An ancient-meets-modern sensibility pervades a house in a gated village in Greenhills done by Nazareno+Guerrero Design Consultancy. With 800 square meters of floor area occupying a 780-square meter lot, the house is screened from the sidewalk by copper-brown stainless steel gates laser-cut in a honeycomb cubist pattern. The pattern is also applied to the kamagong-narra applique double doors of the main entrance. Based on an ancient Roman opus sectile stone floor pattern, the motif is streamlined in a manner that characterizes Anthony Nazareno’s modern grasp of design.

BluPrint Architecture Nazareno+Guerrero Design Consultancy Anthony Nazareno Charles Dy Japanese Modern Continental Modern House
The dramatic entrance into Nazareno+Guerrero Design Consultancy’s project in Greenhills, with onyx stone behind glass panels forming a screen to the foyer. Wooden posts anchoring the screen, modern broad-leaved awnings, and pathways defined by an obsidian tile-finished illumination pond highlights the ryokan look that Nazareno imbibed from Japan’s traditional inns.

The old and new motif fused into a simplified composition continues in the façade elevation of the house. Glass panels framing the entrance are anchored by wooden posts behind them and screened with thinly cut onyx stone. These onyx panels allow light to shine through at night, like a Japanese shoji screen. The pathway approaching the doorway is bridged across a small pond, highlighting the Japanese motif, and introduces the main idea for the façade: a modern residential recreation of a tradition ryokan, or Japanese traveler’s inn that once dotted the main highways of feudal Japan, such as the Tokkaido between old Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto.

BluPrint Architecture Nazareno+Guerrero Design Consultancy Anthony Nazareno Charles Dy Japanese Modern Continental Modern House
View of the house from the east-facing front garden. Note the soaring wood-finished steel pillars carrying the extra-wide eaves of the roofline, as well as the generous use of curtain glass to illuminate the living room with morning light.
BluPrint Architecture Nazareno+Guerrero Design Consultancy Anthony Nazareno Charles Dy Japanese Modern Continental Modern House
View of the living room facing the foyer. The open doorway is flanked by Chinese antique screens. Modern sofas and a coffee table bring a more Continental Modern look to the interior that is repeated by the cathedral-length curtains. Artwork at left is by Romulo Olazo.

As in many of Nazareno’s residential projects, light is an important aspect in delineating the volume of the interiors. Hence, generous glass fenestration to the house’s east and north sides allow light to stream into the interiors, unhampered by transparent glass balustrades that wrap the second floor.

Exterior glass awnings anchored on brown-finished steel brackets also continue the feeling of ryokan-inspired lightness along the house’s perimeter, while providing practical protection from tropical elements. Soaring brown steel piers anchor the house’s generously projected eaves to the ground, becoming the vertical accents to the horizontal volumes of the awnings, and finishing the Japanese Modern look.

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BluPrint Architecture Nazareno+Guerrero Design Consultancy Anthony Nazareno Charles Dy Japanese Modern Continental Modern House
Nazareno pierces this main residential space with transparent curtains of glass to flood the interior with northeastern light, putting the space to the most beneficial amount of sunlight at its coolest position.
View of the enclosed formal dining room accented by a Murano glass chandelier lovingly called, “Medusa,” by designer Charles Dy. The clean kitchen is seen in the adjacent room.

Instead of anchoring the house at the center of the property line, Nazareno pushed it back towards the right rear position, opening the left front side into the garden while wrapping the garden view to its rear around a projection that houses the ground floor den and gym, and second floor master bedroom, creating an “inverted L” footprint. This was meant to create a maximum impression of space for the visitor and user, while shielding the house from commercial establishments that occupy the rear side lots. Facing east and north, the house is therefore comfortable to live in despite the tropical heat. Bamboo trees and tropical palms in the garden and porch area highlight the Japanese-tropical motif from the outside, and provide an adequate foil for the more intimate drama that governs the interior.

READ MORE: Old Bones, New Spirit: N+GDC’s Mahogany House

The chic moderne powder room at the ground floor, with laser-cut bronze paneling and cubistic sink stand.
Nazareno uses a combination of curves and straight angles to bring out a modern East-West fusion of lines in the interior, as can be seen in the stairwell balustrade, and the wall details of the alcove leading to the upstairs bedroom.

Here, the architect graciously gives way to the interior designer, as Charles Dy worked hand-in-hand with Nazareno to bring to life the client’s needs for understated luxury, comfort, and modern convenience. With four bedroom/baths plus maids/drivers’ rooms with baths, the house is designed for the convenience of a typically modern household: an office room with its own storage and powder room sits at the center of the second story, while a family area lounges next to the master bedroom just across the stairwell.

The family room adjacent to the master bedroom creates a more relaxed, informal setting on the second floor.
BluPrint Architecture Nazareno+Guerrero Design Consultancy Anthony Nazareno Charles Dy Japanese Modern Continental Modern House
The powder gray-versus-ecru color scheme with subdued spots of blue in the master bedroom completes the Continental Modern look favored particularly in Germany.

On the ground floor, the living room stretches from the foyer into the enclosed dining room and clean kitchen, the garden view resplendent to the cast via double-level glass curtain walls and sliding doors. Just to the left is the den, and behind it the exercise gym for the client’s athletic daughter. Nazareno’s love for wood textures still reverberates via the solid narra treads of the glass and white cantilevered staircase; and the wood veneer panels and screens on the interiors.

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The use of modern geometric couches, coupled with a predominant use of white to shades of brown gives a very Continental Modern look to the main interiors, similar to that of modern countryside houses in France or Germany. The living room’s double-height windows and curtains reinforce this feeling, as well as the strategic use of crystal lighting or mirrored accents from Murano or Bohemia.

BluPrint Architecture Nazareno+Guerrero Design Consultancy Anthony Nazareno Charles Dy Japanese Modern Continental Modern House
Northeast corner of the ryokan entrance, with the garden and formal den in the background, emphasizing Japanese Modern sensibilities.

Happily, art is also part of the interior’s modern feel, as two paintings, one by Romulo Olazo and another by Arturo Luz, decorate the main accent walls of the house’s ground and second floors, respectively. Powder rooms are also luxuriously appointed for the visitor, especially that in the living room. There is also space provision for a private elevator (whose shaft is used as additional storage space as of writing) between the living room and upstairs family room.

BluPrint Architecture Nazareno+Guerrero Design Consultancy Anthony Nazareno Charles Dy Japanese Modern Continental Modern House
Nazareno’s use of Japanese-inspired formal drama in the architecture and planting seamlessly integrates with the more Continental Modern look of the interior furnishings and transparent glass curtain walls.

With centralized lighting and interior climate controls, and signature appointments for its kitchen, the Nazareno-Dy collaboration results in a unique hybrid of a house: Japanese Modern on the outside, Continental Modern on the inside. Its emphasis on convenience and understated luxury (emphasized by its extra-tall three meter-doors and ceilings) is also what makes it Filipino: a studied but effortless empathy by the designers to the unique needs of their client, while foregrounding the practice of design that is seen globally but done locally.B ender

This first appeared on BluPrint Volume 2 2014. Edits were made for BluPrint online.

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