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Architect Emmanuel Minana has been setting a very high bar for contemporary Filipino design for the last 2 or more decades. Though his lines are not as literally Filipino as Manosa, his method to express Filipino design comes in the form of detailing. One way is how he treats his facades. During his early years, Minana was fond of utilizing wooden window shutters that acted as sun baffles with an operable hinge feature, in order to allow various positions, for both aesthetics, cleaning and safety purposes.

His later works had a more horizontal silhouette. Window evolved into vast openings with dramatic roof lines extending way beyond the outer walls of the building, producing a resort-like atmosphere. This became a signature direction for his last few works.

In recent years, Minana explored exterior stone cladding. First, in lighter stone shades such as sandstone and travertine, which made the buildings more modernist in influence, leaning in the direction of Meis Van Der Rohe Barcelona Pavillion.

Perhaps his most celebrated work which generated a lot of publicity for Minana was the Tantoco residence. This highly publicized work was so important, it literally put Santa Elena on the map. Before this milestone, the village was a just another far off village that most would never consider to live in for themselves. Now, with this beautiful modern Filipino mansion clad in Adobe, it sent a signal to the market that the Tantocos were fully-committed to developing the area in a manner befitting Manila’s elite. Most developers just build to sell a product. In this case the house told the world, the project is not just a profit machine. This was something they believed in, and to prove it, the Makati-based Tantocos were willing to “put their money where their mouth was” and relocate to Santa Elena.

In this project, Kaufman’s involvement was for the swimming pool using Indonesian Batu Hijao stone, Emperador brown marble from Spain for counters, as well as the Black Zebra book-matched marble for the staircase feature wall.

Minana’s high profile use of Adobe, sourced locally, single handedly brought back the stone back into fashion. Prior to this, adobe was just another idea lost to time, only to be found in ageing 1970s modernist houses, unfortunately, destined for demolition. This house brought it back into vogue, causing a massive jump in the market demand for the material. At present, I have seen the material find its way into dozens of important houses all over the Philippines, some into houses with values upwards of 270 million pesos.

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