Contemporary art breathes new life into the family home


A change of bold artwork and vibrant furnishings creates exciting possibilities for an “old” home. Brazilian model-turned-artist Ciane Xavier-Calma infused a different character when she redecorated her in-laws’ former home, with the help of her brother-in-law, design provocateur Juan Carlo Calma.

The unique structure, one of four houses on the same street designed by the Calma family, is the result of family collaborations. At the turn of the millennium, entrepreneur Pablo Calma acquired this corner property in a Makati village from designer Budji Layug. In 1998, Pablo called on his nephew, architect Eduardo “Ed” Calma, to give it a facelift.

While Ed’s designs are progressive, he used a traditional material, inch-thick Roman bricks produced by Riviera Filipina, the now-defunct company owned by Pablo’s stepfather, Enrique Angeles. The factory made tiles, toilets, ceramics and bricks.

The brick facade receives a contemporary touch by the composition of the plans and the contrast of the ironwork on the eaves and the posts. From a distance, the fine metallic lines frame the entrance.

“Everything is brick on the outside, but the view from the inside is nice,” Ed says.

Bricks envelop the house in privacy while the views from the glass walls are directed towards the newly installed terrace and pool and the landscape.

Internationally recognized

Ed points out that the house is the only Filipino entry in the “Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture,” a review of outstanding examples of contemporary structures from around the world.

Before the pandemic, Pablo and his wife had moved. His son, José Paolo, general contractor, his daughter-in-law Ciane (pronounced sha-nee) and his two grandchildren became the new occupants.

The three-level house consists of the bar, veranda, swimming pool and utility area on the ground floor, living room, dining room and TV on the second floor, as well as the loft and bedrooms on the third level.

Carlo Calma designed the marble table with wooden base inspired by Ciane’s figurative sculpture. One corner presents the modern classic chair and table by architect Lorenzo Calma.

One of Ed’s interesting treatments is a series of metallic perpendicular lines that create a tunnel effect above the stairwell leading to the attic.

Another hallmark of Ed’s designs is a corner projecting room on the top floor, lit by expanses of glass facing the lower floor and surrounding views. This room has been converted into Ciane’s office where she does her digital art and animation. (His sculpture studio is in Poblacion.)

During the renovation beautiful finishes such as red narra and tindalo on the oak veneer floor and walls have been polished. The silver ironwork on the facade has been painted rust to complement the patina of the bricks.

Ciane’s artistic marks are injected into the house. Coming from the world of body-conscious modeling, she sculpts feminine silhouettes, characterized by distortions and bunny ears, and paints faces with streaks. Hanging from the eaves at the entrance, a resin sculpture of a naked woman sprawls over a piece of fabric, suggesting the world on the brink of collapse.

Italian furniture is brought to life by art: the black and white cushions by Takashi Murakami and the cartoonish rug by Kaws. The figurative sculpture in white resin by Ciane completes the furniture while the painting by TRNZ takes up the colors of the carpet.

“This is the state of mind of our time. The company is hanging on, ”says Ciane.

Carlo designed the recessed ceiling above the bar which is defined by the silhouette of a woman with cutouts of mutilated body parts.

He also designed the bar table with a marble top and wooden base of Ciane’s iconic female form. The table makes a strong statement in the living room. The artist’s grotesquely beautiful figurative sculptures are on display in the house alongside those of other artists.

Cartoon type images

Much like a gallery, artists are organized according to similarity of themes and styles: vibrant colors, cartoon images, and subjects with ambiguous expressions. The collection spans the gamut of views from young artists such as the animated images of Yonson Culibrina, the animated sculptures of Yeo Kaa and the anime style of TRNZ (Terence) to the moody painting by established artist Lynyrd Paras. and American artists Kaws (Brian Donnelly) and Ron English whose images are subversions of cartoon and comic book characters.

Ciane’s “XYZ”, a sculpture of a hanging woman, is his statement on precarious times.

These works connect to Ciane’s colorful works with themes of bodily shame and enigmatic emotions.

Powerful works of art complement the contemporary classic lines of Italian furniture and a vintage coffee table and chair from Ed’s father, Modernist architect-designer Lorenzo Calma.

The most revealing vignette is a corner near the window that shows Ciane’s white resin sculpture of a crouching woman with bunny ears, flanked by two Roly Poly armchairs. Featured as an iconic design from the 2010s, this sculptural squat chair with soft edges, created by British designer Faye Toogood, is enjoying a cult following. Vogue magazine described the Roly Poly chair as a “childish and nonconforming contemporary design” imbued with joie de vivre. These adjectives echo the fiery nature and art of Ciane.

Ciane has traveled to many countries, including the Philippines, for business modeling work. After quitting modeling, she got into interior design here. To satisfy the urge to create serious art, she learned to paint, sculpt and use computer animation and virtual reality art to produce fascinating experiential art exhibits.

The corner reflects the personality of Ciane Xavier-Calma, both introspective and playful. His “Mercy” resin sculpture is flanked by the iconic Roly Poly chairs.

The newly renovated home / gallery has not only become a place to connect with his family, but it also allows him to push the boundaries of his artistic creation.


Ciane Xavier-Calma will hold an exhibition, “Connecting and Disconnecting”, on September 18, at Art Cube, Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Ext. Makati City.

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