THE qualities of metal and steel have always been highlighted with regard to their roles in architecture. These materials hogged the spotlight in numerous buildings in Europe and the U.S. during the Industrial Revolution, giving designers an opportunity to come up with light, durable and transparent structures. Their malleability became the launching pad of the Art Nouveau style, characterized by soft and curvilinear forms in buildings and their details.
Architecture continues to gain advantage from metal and steel. In fact, a Cebuano architect places these on another pedestal, apart from that used in building construction.
For Jonas Pacifico, metal is not merely a material that he uses in his architectural projects but an important element when he takes a break from the hectic hours in the office.
“I have always had the itch to try and experiment with different materials and mediums—be it crayons, digital media, music and others,” says the thirty-something architect.
“This has in fact been one of the main reasons I even pursued art. For instance, my last art series prior to metal sketches were portraits using ordinary children’s crayons. The idea of creating something beautiful using materials that everybody had access to daily is the challenge I enjoy.”
His works are excellent accents in their family-owned building in Nivel Hills, where his architecture office, Pont Studio, and their restaurant Café Capriccio are located. Looking through the different installations, the forms generated by the architect varies from more serious images like that of Mother Mary and the Child Jesus to more random and everyday profiles like his Tubig’s Gripo, showing a faucet with a drop of water coming from it.
Metal art has become a unifying art piece in their building, greeting the visitor at the parking area and providing him more glimpses of the works on the walls inside the restaurant, the stairwell and even at the backyard.
“To be quite honest, I usually don’t think of the end result prior to starting my work. I begin with a general idea and then allow the experimentation to lead the way,” confesses Jonas. However, based on the works he has produced so far, he categorizes them into two main themes, the linear minimalist experiments and the freehand experiments. “I needed to duplicate my paper creations to a different dimension. I wanted to give it depth and intensity. I guess that led me to using metal as a means of converting my artwork to semi-sculpture. My creativity and curiosity drove me to pursue these works.”
He said that he has not seen any Cebuano artist who delved into these kinds of works but he sees a very “artistic future” for Cebu with its pool of very creative talents. For now, he looks forward though that his future clients would see his studio as just merely for architecture. “I envision a future where my art is seen as an extension of my architecture and vice versa,” Jonas says. “I personally love the duality of my experimentation. I feel that the artist in me inspires the architect to be more daring and experimental, while the architect inspires a more grounded and stable artist. Simply put, the architect in me feels obligated to create sturdy, well-constructed and free-standing pieces of creativity.”
It might be hard to believe that with the busy lifestyle of an architect, Jonas still finds time to do these types of artworks. But, this is where people could also see how “work” is given a lighter dimension when one enjoys doing it. And it’s not that much of a hassle to do. According to him, all one needs is a metal round bar and an idea and he’s ready to go.