15th 2005
Home is Where the Art is

Posted under Articles

Philippine STAR
TALKING DESIGN by Christian Espiritu
Jan. 15, 2005

Some homes that we have visited are greatly improved by the addition of worthy works of art – oil or acrylic paintings, sculptures, photographs or in some instances mere pencil drawings. They provide additional texture and become accents on walls or corners that direly need them.

This house is dominated by art. The lady of the house, Elaine Ongpin Herbosa, the lovely and talented wife of Poch Herbosa, has been painting all her life. She has a charming and very nonchalant figurative style but her greatest masterpiece came by way of her daughter Mia who has made painting, sculpting and printing her full time and personal vocation. Mia has intimated that her mother inspired her to paint as a young girl.

Designed and built along the Moroccan cum Mediterranean vernacular, the Herbosa complex includes an independent structure that doubles as an art gallery apart from the main house. Close friends and relatives often congregate in this private gallery to view Mia’s latest oeuvres before they are exhibited in commercial galleries. On occasion, this gallery, which features all the accouterments of a regular house replete with its own kitchenette, serves as a cozy destination for tired or vacationing guests.

Galleries are usually left starkly bare, waiting for artworks to inhabit and embellish its interiors, but not in this case because Elaine loves to layer her interiors, so vignettes abound generously within its confines. Call it well-studied clutter since, despite their presence in every nook and cranny, these cute and interesting tableaux do not compete for attention with the exhibited works. Let your eyes roam and you are assured you’ll discover surprises in the place.

More is more indeed at L’arc en Ciel (that’s how the Herbosas labeled their haven, written on a minuscule plaque on an entrance wall). If the interiors burst with vignettes and tableaux composed of delicate objects, the patios and gardens outside likewise vie for scrutiny and attention.

In the main house, Mia, the accomplished global artist who spends the greater part of the year painting in her studio right in the heart of Manhattan, rendered on one of the walls of the entry foyer an eye-catching mural. In her romantic and classic genre, she painted a mural depicting a dreamy European scene depicted in hazy and delicately muted colors.

As one ends his brief visit at the Herbosas’ L’Arc en Ciel, he discovers that the sanctuary, just like the majestic rainbow, is suffused with boundless color and beauty.