Art is central to Antonio’s family and home. His father, Apolonio, was the architect’s first mentor and the source of inspiration in pursuing a career that envisioned worlds through art and design. His wife, Marina Reyes, designed romantic dresses for the ladies of Manila’s prestige, and at the same time decorated the house’s interiors. By following his father’s creative footsteps and being together with a spouse whose bespoke career revolved around fashion and entertainment, Antonio lived a life surrounded by art. And his experiences would be passed down – reflected in his descendants’ endeavors and the house’s well-kept artistic environment.
The house became Antonio’s workspace and his wife’s atelier. Their children and grandchildren continued the function by not only creating their crafts on-site, but on occasion hosting salon-styled fashion shows and gatherings that celebrated the family’s works of art.
In 2008 the home was promoted as the Garden Room which began to transform old bedrooms and lounges into couture and bridal showrooms for the portfolio of Malu & Letlet Veloso, a label run by Antonio’s daughter and granddaughter. Art and antique collections including watercolor paintings by Edgar Doctor, both permanent and for sale, were also displayed in hallways – making the home a small, alternative art institution.
Yet, the family has always aspired to push the boundaries of adaptive use in a heritage site – a dream for the house to neither be simply known as the dwelling built and lived by a National Artist nor an atelier of the Veloso fashion clan. By looking at the bigger picture of things, an insight arose: the house is a place where art is nurtured and shall thrive.
It was in 2017 when the Pablo Antonio Ancestral Home Project, an initiative consisting of family members and community of creatives, historians, heritage advocates, and enthusiasts, came together to launch the residence’s art spaces – a revival of the home’s underlying roles and practices like that of an art gallery and museum.
Beginning with what family refers to as the ‘Yellow Room’, a master’s bedroom with a foyer converted into an air-conditioned dining area for My Mother’s Garden, it became the room for exhibiting and selling fine art. This commemorated the opening of the first art show on Antonio’s death anniversary, 10th of June, entitled HEARTH: Heritage and Art at the Pablo Antonio Home.
HEARTH featured the works of printmaker Pandy Aviado and young emerging artists, which included Antonio’s great-grandchildren. Later in the year and following the exhibit’s success, a second edition alongside a family-fashion show paying tribute to the works and house contribution of Marina Reyes-Antonio took place in September, her birth month.
From then on, the Pablo S. Antonio Home hosted many more events such as exhibits, art markets, workshops, book launches, and fashion shows – continuing the site’s story as a home for creativity, art and design. Indeed, its rooms became a House of Dreamers.
Featured in Articles
- Malu Veloso’s Fashion Accessories by Oh My Buhay, ohmybuhay.com, April 12, 2015.
- Photos: Beautiful Heritage Buildings to See Next Time You’re in Manila by Coni Tejada, Spot.ph, May 1, 2016.
- The Garden Room at Pablo Antonio’s House by CJ Juntereal, Manila Bulletin, July 20, 2017.
- Where the dreamers dreamed at the house of Pablo Antonio by Vicky Veloso-Barrera, The Philippine Star, January 26, 2019.