Women in PH Real Estate: Atelier Almario’s Ivy and Cynthia Encapsulate Luxury and Sophistication

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Interior designers Cynthia and Ivy Almario’s signature masterpieces exude luxury and elegance. Their firm, Atelier Almario, is highly regarded in the world of interior design.

Luxury, elegance, and—to some extent—indulgence. These seem to be the hallmark that define the work of interior designers and sisters Cynthia and Ivy Almario of Atelier Almario.

The design duo, whose interior design masterpieces have been honed in Los Angeles, California where they practiced their craft for close to 15 years before putting up Atelier Almario in the Philippines, is known for their classy yet homey interior design work. From world-class residential condominium projects and high-end hotels to cafes, restaurants, and even transforming a former hardware store into a design expo masterpiece, Cynthia and Ivy Almario seem to have perfected their signature style and craft. Just take a look at some of their notable works: Astoria Boracay, Movenpick Cebu, Citadines Millennium Ortigas, Midas Hotel, Romulo Café, and Gigi Coffee and Cupcakes.

Luxury and elegance

The two were part of high society magazine Town and Country Philippines’ best and the brightest interior designer roster in the archipelago, a reflection of the duo’s interior design style that connotes luxury and elegance. Their success and expertise on some of their residential interior design masterpieces have catapulted them to work on commercial projects that include hotels, restaurants, and bars not just in the country but even beyond its shores, the magazine noted.

In her LinkedIn profile, Ivy Almario, one of the principals of Atelier Almario, had established a rendering firm in the upscale Beverly Hills area in Los Angeles, California called Asian Design Resource whose clients included Hirsch Bedner/Trish Wilson and Associates, WWT & G. Intradesign, and James Northcutt. The firm rendered presentation drawings for their Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Rosewood and Grand Hyatt projects across the globe.

It’s no surprise then that when she and her sister Cynthia came home to put up Atelier Almario, the interior design firm would specialize on high-end residential and condominium work, restaurants, hotels, and other commercial projects. In fact, Ivy’s work has been recognized by the Professional Regulations Commission when it bestowed on her the Most Outstanding Professional Interior Designer Award in 2017. She was also a featured designer of the TV series Interior Motives for six segments.

In interior design, it pays to be a woman

For Ivy, creating interior design masterpieces seems to be embedded in her genes. She is an interior designer by nature and was nurtured by it ever since she was 12 years old when her interior designer aunt, Myrna Adriano, lovingly and tastefully designed their home’s interior. Since then, Ivy has been fascinated in making other people’s home as homey and classy as they want it to be.

Interior design is something she and her sister Cynthia love and enjoy doing. Suffice to say, they are passionate about it, so much so that it doesn’t even feel like work for them. When the two create other people’s living environment and their homes, they credit the fact that because they are women they understand how to make a home as functional as possible, the way a mother and a wife do. It’s their innate strength, to say the least.

Returning home

The Almario sisters opted to return to the Philippines because they wanted to help in the development of top destination resorts, hotels, and high-end residential projects. “I wanted my children to grow up with cousins. And we felt it was time to give back. It’s kind of like brain gain instead of a brain drain because a lot of people go overseas to work. We decided to come home to share our knowledge and start doing business here,” Ivy, who is the design director of Atelier Almario, shared in a blog that was featured by Bayo, a homegrown women’s apparel firm. Ivy and Cynthia are part of the personalities Bayo has honored to celebrate Filipino women in various fields.

The two admitted that although they had their share of challenges when they returned home to the country, nothing beats being able to work with Filipino artisans. “In the Philippines, it’s very affordable to customize. Everything in America that’s not available on catalog will cost you a crazy amount of money. But here everything is practically custom,” Ivy wrote in Bayo’s blog. Cynthia added: “And here, everything becomes bespoke because of the high-quality of artisans in the country.” The duo’s work and their firm are highly regarded in the industry.

For them, there’s no place like home. They want to give back to the country, even in their own small way, their talent and skills the best way they know how—through interior design work. “We’ve been very lucky in our careers, to have been privileged to design beautiful environments for so many people in different and varied settings. Cynthia and I now want to expand our design reach, to use our talents, to design beautiful lives, through community development projects, through Agrea, Asam and Gkonomiks,”shared Ivy.

Giving back

The two are instrumental in developing world-class products from the grassroots through GKnomics, a platform that brings together social entrepreneurs, skilled volunteers, corporations, and the academe to work with underprivileged communities to create sustainable livelihood and build global Filipino brands that do not leave the poor behind. For the Almario sisters, this is what fuels their passion to create interior design masterpieces with a cause.

What makes the two very much sought after for their interior design work is their ability to listen well to their clients. For Ivy, interior design is not only personality-based but an applied art as well. Every time she and her sister Cynthia would design other people’s homes, they make sure that their work would enhance their clients’ appreciation of their homes and truly enjoy living in their abodes. That’s why listening well and understanding what their clients want and need are of utmost importance for the design duo. That means going beyond the superficial level of merely taking notes on what their clients are telling them but closely observing body language and nuances, things which are not said to them when a client and her entire family are expressing something that they truly want.

For the Almario sisters, they are grateful for having the ability to transform spaces and being part of a process where their design skills contribute to the well-being and satisfaction of their clients. Their interior design process, in other words, is akin to solving a crossword puzzle, where the correct solution often shows up when you truly pay attention to your clients’ needs and wants. This is something the design duo have learned and perfected over years of experience.

Sources: Town and Country, LinkedIn, Bayo

Read our previous feature on PH real estate’s outstanding women. 

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