In the middle of the 2011 to 2012, I visited a North Forbes Park house along Cambridge Circle which had just been purchased by top banker Lorenzo Tan. The house was clad in a rustic gray stone made by hand, using simple tools. It was installed in the traditional way with unbelievably tight hair line gaps. Amazingly, the indigenous mountain people still possessed the traditional stone skills passed on through their tribe over the millennia, so they were brought to Makati to do the tribal wall. Given the fact they built the rice terraces over a span of two thousand years, they ought to know a thing or two about stone wall building….
Halfway through the project, while container loads of elegant CCP travertine, granite, Baguio stonewall and onyx were painstakingly being installed by Kaufman Inc (with close supervision of the owner and Arm Design), we got the news. To everyone’s surprise, we learned that Manny Pacquiao had purchased the very house we were working on. The house was not even completed and he paid thrice the market price. As the house was technically not for sale, Pacquiao just accepted the ridiculously high number of 385million, a price meant to turn away the buyer politely. Apparently, not this buyer. The house was sold and the deal was sealed, which in hindsight was “peanuts”. I say this because he just sold the house a few months ago for 1.2 billion. Not a bad profit over a 7 year period.
As you may know, prior to the recent sale, the house went through a major renovation demolishing the CCP travertine and replacing millions worth of Kaufman stone with artificial marble PRINTED on white porcelain or ceramic tiles. It is completely a replica of marble, a synthetic material. But this is another story altogether, therefore, I refer you to my previous write up, posted last year on the subject.
This particular story is about the onyx, the slab we imported and grouped according to color shade. We then fabricated a metal frame based on a design, to take the load of the slab. As the stone is translucent, the challenge was how to support all that weight with an invisible metal frame. We had to hide the frame so that it did not cast a shadow on the stone when the internal lights were switched on. In this work, we just kept the metal to a minimum. In subsequent counters, we developed an acrylic internal frame which addressed the issue of shadows.
Back to the Pacquiao counter, I am not sure if the yellow onyx toilet counters and the bar were retained, which I do certainly hope it was, because we worked so hard to match the slabs to a block of stone in the same shade of onyx. Arm Design wanted the lavatory counter to be seamless and to look like a monolithic sculptural piece. After locating an appropriate block, it was then carved using high tech grinding machines that cut and polished the block into 3D shapes, in this case the half round sink. Essentially 3D printed.