PBELL + A.ID: A Decade Dedicated to Masterful Design and Service
Not all partnerships lead to fruitful and successful businesses. It takes a certain type of chemistry to make things work and keep things working, especially in the design industry. Today, we are blessed to dive deeper into the history, challenges, and goals that Ar. Chris Bello III and Idr. Astrid Sangil-Bello set for themselves as they started their journey and continued to hone their craft in design while still keeping every one of their clients smiling with all their collaborated creations.
BluPrint: Could you give us a brief history of your firm? Can you give us more of a background about your history as designers?
PBELL + A.ID: Our company, as our name suggests, is a collaboration between two previously separate practices, Pbell Architects by Ar. Ped Christopher Bello III and Astrid Interior Designs by IDr. Anne Astrid Sangil-Bello. Our combined practice allows for a more comprehensive range of services which we could offer to each of our clients.
BluPrint: Who are the main proponents?
PBELL + A.ID: The company is led both by Ar. Ped Christopher Bello III and by IDr. Anne Astrid Sangil-Bello. Each with his and her own set of strengths to impart to the team.
BluPrint: What is the vision of the firm?
PBELL + A.ID: While we are happy and grateful for the network of clients and range of projects we have worked on and are currently handling, there is still the yearning for growth. Growth not simply in numbers but more importantly in terms of our knowledge of meeting the needs of our client and having a better grasp of new technology related to our industry. The world, not just our industry, is constantly and quickly changing and we want to constantly adapt and innovate as well.
BluPrint: What is special about the firm?
PBELL + A.ID: We pride ourselves on providing a bespoke experience for all our clients. Our small, yet efficient practice allows each client to receive personalized service and direct contact with our principals. Maintaining a reasonably sized team allows us to provide a hands-on approach to each project with great communication between the Company to the Client.
BluPrint: Can you name your favorite projects from your portfolio?
PBELL + A.ID: We are fond of working with Real Estate Developers for Model Units and Showrooms. We get to have more fun in terms of the design as these are mostly temporary spaces and we do not have to heavily consider the long-term enjoyment of the design. Hence, we can be more playful in terms of color and print selection as well as in the type of furniture to use. Developers are also very efficient and result-oriented, that is why every project with them is a challenge we love taking on.
BluPrint: What is FILIPINISM in Architecture and Design? As designers how do you promote it?
PBELL + A.ID:We have always been mindful of Filipinism and we have done so throughout our practice. Educating our clients and partners is one way of promoting local talents because we believe that Filipino talent can compete with the international market. We also continue to innovate and advance local products by working hand in hand with various local suppliers. We integrate the local products by applying the latest trends in architecture and interior design worldwide.
BluPrint: Could you tell us more about your current projects and how were you able to conceptualize them amidst the pandemic?
PBELL + A.ID: The pandemic, while tremendously scary, sad, and unfortunate, has also forced businesses to pivot in ways we never imagined before. Remotely working, while at the beginning was just a means to keep everyone safe, is now a rational and smart option especially for small practices such as ours. Using online means to discuss designs with clients instead of having to always personally meet with them allows for faster decision-making and improved communication. While you can never replace face-to-face meetings in building rapport with a client, the online alternative is reasonable and efficient.
One example of a project we worked on during the pandemic is the 300 sqm condominium unit at the Grand Hyatt Residences. The world was considerably safer and covid-free when we first met the Clients and started working on the designs. However, midway through the construction of the project, the pandemic happened. At first, it was just small and nervous conversations on site about this “new virus”. Then we started spraying alcohol on our hands every time we touched a new surface. Until it reached the point of lockdown. No work, no movement, everything stopped.
The first week of lockdown was more like a vacation with paranoia lingering over your head. But as soon as the realization hit that this would last weeks, months, if not a year, then we began pacing ourselves to slowly and safely get back to work. While we kept our health and sanity as our top priority, we also thought of ways we could protect our team while continuing work. Improved ways to remotely work and communicate with the team and the client (through zoom and group chats) were top priority. Sending material samples and other tactile design matters via courier was also explored.
We are thankful that all our clients have been very patient as they trusted us to recommend what is best for everyone involved in the project. After months of delays and setbacks because of Covid19, we are happy to finish all the projects without casualties in our design and construction team, and we look forward to improving on this in future projects to come.
BluPrint: Who do you take inspiration from? Any specific architect whose work you love internationally and locally?
PBELL + A.ID: We highly respect our contemporaries and our predecessors in the field, and we have a great appreciation for all their work and contributions. But in terms of inspiration, our work has and will always be inspired by our clients. That has been our company’s credo from the beginning, to collaborate and combine our ideas with our clients. Our 10 years in practice have introduced us to various types of personalities and opened our minds to various perspectives because of our clients’ inputs.
BluPrint: What is the legacy you want to contribute to our country?
PBELL + A.ID: Hopefully, through meaningful interactions with our clients and through the work we put out there, we can impart how Interior Design is a necessity instead of its perceived reputation as just purely luxury. It is our job to ensure that you interact well with your space, that your day goes about somewhat easier because of how well-planned and organized your space is, and that you get to enjoy what you see and what you feel in the space you are in, every day, whether it be your house, your office, or the restaurant you frequent.
The pandemic has reiterated to us how important it is to carve out your own safe space, and how your emotions, your mental faculties, and how you cope with the stresses of life can be somewhat affected by the space you are in. There was a period when we were in lockdown and our own house was the only safe space. Having a well-thought-out and well-designed house has never been so timely. Hopefully, part of the legacy we impart is the knowledge and appreciation of the process of designing for your own safe space.