Every community should integrate art in its development. It enhances the value of the development, said Jun Bisnar, Nuvali general manager and Ayala Land vice president. More than its decorative function, art inspires, humanizes, educates, entertains and uplifts us. It improves the living spaces as well as enriches the lives within it. This is aside from architecture, which must be well-thought as well as aesthetically pleasing.
Ayala Land has been admirable in the way they create their communities. Take Bonifacio Global City, for example, with the Serendra condominiums, which sport a delightful architecture, and the Bonifacio High Street, a shopping district with open spaces, parks and public art. This has become an exemplar for their other developments, particularly Nuvali, the 2,290-hectare integrated community in Santa Rosa and Calamba, Laguna.
Nuvali is almost a complete community that has residential areas, shopping and dining centers, recreational spaces, business zones, gathering places, and other amenities and facilities. Moreover, Nuvali is designed with strong consideration to the natural environment. The structures for living and working are planned towards harmonization with the natural world as well as the enjoyment and appreciation of it.
Nuvali has a wildlife and bird sanctuary, a 17-kilometer buffer green and forest zone which has 76 faunal species, 13 of which are endemic, and 55 species of flora. There is a gazebo and view decks to enable people to observe and enjoy them as well as foot trails for bird-watching enthusiasts, families and groups as an outdoor recreational activity.
Now, Ayala Land is giving space to art with a month-long program called Greenstallations, which is said to be “a celebration of creative sustainability through the integration of art in everyday life.”
According to Bisnar, this event is an affirmation that Nuvali is also “a place of art, a place of learning,” citing as example the Evoliving Center, a multi-purpose building that is an architectural achievement. It is also in accord with other Ayala properties, where public artworks have been installed.
Working with Nuvali for this venture, which runs from Aug. 3 to Sept. 1, is the Ayala Museum.
“Ayala Museum is bringing art outside the walls of the museum and to the people,” said Kenneth Esguerra, Ayala Museum senior curator.
The highlight of Greenstallations is the installation of commissioned public art by acclaimed artists. Mario Mallari, Jr., Juan Carlo Calma, Michael Cacnio and Eduardo Castrillo worked around the theme of sustainability.
“We decided to talk about sustainability, the symbiosis between man and nature, which is Nuvali is all about,” Esguerra said.
Thus, two objectives are met at the same time — promoting an appreciation for the arts and advancing the commitment to economic, social and environmental sustainability. And this is just the beginning. Bisnar revealed that they will exhibit more artworks every year and expand their reach from the central business district to other areas of Nuvali.
The Greenstallations artworks are placed around Nuvali’s lakeside commercial district. The area sees a good amount of activity. There is an artificial lake where people go boating. Around it, people stroll and jog. At one end are the Evoliving Center and the Monochrome, an events place. At the other are the BPO offices and restaurants.
Between the Evotech buildings and the Solenad 1 restaurants is Mario Mallari’s The Last Tree, a welded scrap metal and found objects assemblage depicting a man holding tree. An architecture graduate of the Technological Institute of the Philippines, Mallari is known for using “insignificant” and throwaway materials such as scrap metal to create something beautiful. He said he chose to use scrap metal because of its availability and abundance. The Last Tree, which tells of hope for a “greener future through responsible use of natural resources,” is the first sculpture he did.
When Juan Carlo Calma got the brief for the Greenstallations, which requires a work to be based on nature and be Filipino, he culled from childhood memories, coming up with Flower Primitive. He said he wanted to do a sculpture that would merge with the landscape. Placed on the grass lawn by the lake, the sculpture of two interconnected giant flowers painted bright red is actually eye-catching. Calma, an architect who took up sculpture, painting and light design at the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco and has held art and architecture exhibits in San Francisco, London and Manila, said he was inspired by the gumamela or hibiscus as well as the straw hat, which can be seen in its openwork design. Flower Primitive is made of cut, bent and welded metal sheets with glossy automotive paint finish. It has perforations, casting dots of light on the ground.
The 1996 Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award winner Michael Cacnio was also inspired by childhood in creating his Luksong Lubid, a soldered brass plate assemblage placed near the Monochrome. The artist, who is known for figurative brass sculptures depicting nature and traditional Filipino scenes, said this is his first time to work with Ayala and it was challenge for him “because I seldom work on big sculptures.” Luksong Lubid is his sixth large-scale sculpture. It depicts three children jumping rope, an image rarely seen nowadays because of the Internet and computers.
One of the most prominent sculptors in the country, known for brass and bronze works such as La Pieta (1971) at the Loyola Memorial Park and the People Power monument (1993) along Edsa, Eduardo Castrillo has a long history with the Ayalas. He has worked with Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala, himself an artist as well as a patron of the arts, and he has worked with Leandro Locsin, National Artist for architecture. When he was shown Nuvali, he exclaimed, “Wow! What a splendid environment.” And for the place, he made a soldered brass plate assemblage called The Community of Creation, said to be “inspired by the dynamics of working cohesively as one” paying “homage to this community where creative energy lives and thrives.”
The unveiling of these sculptures last Aug. 2 jumpstarted a series of events, all highlighting the importance of integrating art in everyday life, as well as using it for environmental awareness. From Aug. 17 to Sept. 1, the Green Art Display will be held, featuring installations that make use of non-traditional, earth-friendly and/or recyclable materials. Along with this, “Ecograffiti” will be launched, featuring “eco-friendly” street art on Nuvali’s walls. From Aug. 31 to September, there will be this curious event called the Singing Trees of Nuvali, in which people can hear music as they walk through a forest. Simultaneously, arts and crafts workshops for kids will be held.
May this endeavor be not limited to two months but will be permanently part of the Nuvali lifestyle. Hopefully, it will expand to include other fields of the arts such as literature, dance, theater and film. A venue for the performing arts that features plays and films is a scintillating addition to this property, as well as a library to promote and preserve reading and literature, where there are regular activities such as story-telling sessions and book clubs. With such spiritual enclaves, Nuvali will truly be a place of learning and meaningful living.
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