The comforts of home have been our solace for over a year now, trapped in the ongoing cycle of COVID-19. Our new reality has given us the opportunity to spend more time at home, due to the enduring quarantine restrictions that persist in the Philippines.
These unusual circumstances have introduced a new perspective to homeowners and homeowners-to-be who have an affinity for the finer things in life – that is, reimagining premium residential architecture. As we’ll see from Arch. Luther Sim from Sim Ateliers, these top-of-the-line homes offer more than just a place to nest. Rather, they bring the world to you, offering you all the joys of the outdoors within the confines of your property.
The new wave of residential design comes at no better time than now. For Sim, being at the forefront of experiential luxury architecture comes naturally to him. He shares with us his journey through the pandemic and how he has learned to delight the senses and deliver global design to the local scene.
Sim recounts his journey in the industry, remarking that it didn’t happen overnight. For him, it has been a long process of being comfortable with the realization that being on the “right track” means making frequent mistakes in the beginning. Sim believes that “once you are able to create your own language and emulate your mentors, you may decide to begin your own practice. This is where we decided to start Sim Ateliers.”
The beginning of this atelier paved the way toward Sim’s interpretation of premium residential architecture. We asked Sim to shed a little more light on the inner workings of luxury design. “There is a notion that once you are able to do a house, you are able to do everything else. We always have to dance with our own personal goal, as well as the client’s. It’s always about coexisting.”
The goal of Sim Ateliers is not to shy away from the spotlight. The design firm takes on the challenging feat of introducing international flavor in a way that coincides with the local setting.
Sim recalls his process through architecture, stressing that the most important factor in their design is the translation of their vision to create a space wherein their clients are able to enjoy and maximize all areas in their home.
“We were very lucky that our design program blurs the lines between interior and exterior. Clients tell us that it’s nice to experience a ‘house-in-one’ so they never have to leave the comforts of home,” he says.
Sim goes on to share that a common trend among clients is the desire to have large gathering spaces as well as intimate spaces in their home. “I’ve even had a client request for a bowling alley,” Sim recounts laughing. “These executions are very feasible for us to experience here. So doing luxury homes is also rewarding as you see both our vision and the clients’ vision fulfilled. It also serves as a nicer canvas for us to relay our architectural expression.”
When dealing with a client’s vision, Sim also stresses the importance of incorporating natural elements into the design. “Natural features were not always present in designs before. A lot of houses decades ago would tend to be darker, gloomier, and with landscape only as an afterthought.”
These days, the desire to enjoy the outdoors has elevated the tastes of a homeowner. The idea of blurring the lines between the exterior and interior is a luxury that Sim Ateliers believes in.
“For natural features, we try as much as possible to maneuver it and make it part of the design program. A good example of this is our project, the B House.” The B House is an internationally acclaimed luxury residential space that features the best of Sim Ateliers’ vision and strategic planning, maximizing nature and its luxuries.
For Sim, design is not just about being “instagrammable,” it should be about the language of the designer and how well it is executed toward the shared vision between them and the client. When it comes to designing for the Filipino market, Sim stresses that it’s more of how the house responds to the climate, the rains, and the heat of the sun. “It’s also how we translate the spaces based on our culture. Culturally we want to gather socially. Inside the house, there are spaces for being loud, and intimate spaces for quiet moments.”
What is special about Philippine architecture is how it is catered to the spirit of the Filipino. “My vision is for international clients to come to us and ask us for a house like the ones they see in the Philippines,” says Sim. “There is a new generation of architects who have big dreams. Nowadays, we ask ourselves if the Philippines can be considered as a hub of international design. What I tell you is yes, we can!”