For most families, the lockdown during the height of the pandemic last year would mean spending time together—watching Netflix, cooking dishes, growing plants, playing online, dining, and chatting, among others. On the brighter side, the quarantine season may have strengthened family bonds indeed.
Founder of the health and beauty brand Oryspa Sherill Quintana couldn't agree more that being locked up with family for months created a regular and memorable bonding. And one of which she always looks forward to is their ideation activity, where she also gets to talk about business ideas with her husband Edwin and children Francis, Frewin, Franzin, and Enya.
Their chatting sessions became an escape from the sad reality outside, which is like retreating on an ivory tower. "We realize that being secluded from the rest or cutting yourself from what's happening around you nowadays is a good thing for the sanity of everybody, especially for the family," said Sherill.
Quintanas’ frequent conversations during the quarantine season last year have changed a plan for the ongoing construction of a four-story convention center beside Oryspa's existing showroom in Halang, Calamba, Laguna. “One day, while having our ideation activity, we thought of, why not come up with that establishment to be actually promoting our kind of family bonding,” recalled Sherill, who is also the current president of the Philippine Franchise Association.
“Beyond dedicating the space for seminars and mentoring classes for macro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME), it could also be a safe area for relaxation and ideation, where we can actually spend quality time and conversations with our children and loved ones” added Sherill.
Lo and behold, their collective dream of having a modern and eco-friendly building for family and friends bonding and corporate events is now standing. And it is interesting to note that each floor is offering different purposes, which ideas came from the family’s brainstorming. The building also sits right at the city center of Calamba where one can have a safe relaxation place or a quick retreat without traveling too far.
“On the ground floor is a café, deli, and a milk tea 2D bar. It's where families can dine and savor dishes inspired by different cuisines around the world. It's a quick escape for laughter, relaxation, conversation, and ideation over comfort food," said Sherill, adding "We also thought visitors can buy great products produced by our MSMEs here in Laguna." Surprisingly, some also play chess or other board games here while sipping their favorite drinks or just chilling over wine and cheese and lo-fi music at the banquet seats enjoying the relaxing view of the sky garden that can be seen right through the glass ceiling.
“Then, the second floor has a private area open for family and friends. It's where they can spend time also playing billiards, swimming in the pool, or treating themselves in a spa,” she continued. “It will also house my children’s toys they’ve collected through the years as it's their dream to have a mini toy museum, inspired by our trip in Japan. They are excited to share their hobby with others who are also into toy collections. Right now it serves as a venue for private meetings and intimate celebrations."
According to Sherill, the third floor is where the original plan will take place. The whole floor will be a hybrid venue for seminars and mentoring classes. It has a white screen projector, a whiteboard, desk, and chairs and is powered by an internet connection that can accommodate 50 physical participants and multiple virtual attendees through an internet-based platform. They have also lined up workshops for different ages in this area soon.
The last floor is an open area with a panoramic view of Mt. Makiling. It has an outdoor space perfect for intimate gatherings and small social events good for 80 pax. An occasional Zumba or yoga session will definitely be refreshing here as you enjoy the view.
A plus point of the building is its eco-friendly design. It has a sky garden from the second to the fourth floor and an open wall that makes the area well lit. Not to mention, you can have a dose of the province's fresh air.
Since the establishment was inspired by the concept of the ivory tower, they named the place "Ivory Space," where coincidentally the mark Oryspa is right at the center of the brand logo, evoking relaxation which sits at the center of the concept. Ivory Space as a brand definitely optimizes this by coming up with products that visitors can bring back to their homes and get their own ivory space relaxation.
Sherill explained that “ivory tower may have had negative connotations as a metaphor, but being “locked down” pointed us in the direction of taking out the guilt of an ivory tower retreat from time to time and reinforcing the goodness it brings to our wellness."
Indeed, the family project is a success story during these trying times. Thus, for them, it’s truly up to us what we do with crises. They believe that even the direst of times bear gifts, we just have to muster courage and keep the faith.