Passions and Obsessions

Orlina’s Tower Club sculptures
up at Salcedo auction

Two masterpieces from the private club are highlights
of September 18 ‘Important Philippine Art’ sale

Ramon Orlina in his studio before his sculpture was delivered to Tower Club in 2001

Ramon Orlina ‘Convergence’ (2001, Asahi carved glass)

Ramon Orlina ‘Power of Coalition’ (2001, Asahi carved glass)

Walking through the main hallway of the Tower Club at Philamlife Tower, one couldn’t miss the two sculptures displayed prominently against the Makati skyline—two masterpieces created for the exclusive club by sculptor Ramon Orlina.

In the early 2000s, the Tower Club’s Hong Kong-based interior designer suggested that Orlina be commissioned to create the art works for the club’s main hallway—meant to be a design statement that would uphold the club’s reputation. The designer had seen Orlina’s sculpture at The Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong. In Orlina’s words, the works of art he called Convergence and The Power of Coalition were “all about business and collaboration; these are what brought the Tower Club members together.”

Orlina with his work and the staff at The Tower Club in 2001

Orlina recalls his time as a member, “I was very proud of my collection there, as it had some of my best works. They were very thoughtfully created. It was a collection of my different styles, as if I had a posh private gallery set up for me. It made me happy to know that many prominent guests would go there and meet and become familiar with my works. One of my prominent collectors who found out about my works through the Tower Club is the former prime minister of Bahrain. Those who saw the collection in Bahrain were amazed at the number of pieces.”

Before the era of lockdowns and social distancing, well-attended social events were held regularly at Tower Club. The club closed permanently in 2020 due to the world pandemic.

Orlina’s foray into glass sculpture began in the ’70s after he left his job as architect. He had planned to set up his own architecture firm, but given the restrictions of martial law, projects were scarce. It was then that he turned to art, to find solace amid adversity.

Initially he painted on glass, then he did sculpture. “Republic Glass took notice and offered me a scholarship to study glass art abroad,” Orlina recalls. “I did not accept, but still, they allowed me into their factory to study how they made glass. That was where I started to develop my own technique…From the cold repair stage, I was able to get some chunks of glass to practise on for my method of cutting, grinding, smoothing, and polishing. I made my own machines to fit my method and technique of sculpting for thicker and bigger chunks of glass. I made my very first sculpture, Arcanum Paradise Gained, in 1976. It is now on display in the National Museum of Natural History.”

Orlina’s masterful grasp of form and structure quickly became evident as he created glass sculptures. “I would say that modern architecture, which works with steel and glass, is very similar to my own work, using my skill and training as architect. This background has influenced my art.”

Convergence and The Power of Coalition are highlights in The Well-Appointed Life auction on Saturday, September 18. Now on its 7th year, The Well-Appointed Life has developed a following among the country’s leading collectors, fostering curiosity and dialogue about society and the world.

‘Power of Coalition’ and ‘Convergence’ in prominent display in the main hallway
of the Tower Club

This auction is presented with exclusive banking partner HSBC Premier, with the participation of modern and contemporary design Partner CWC Interiors. The online catalogue and the bid registration and venue for the online auction, can be accessed via salcedoauctions.com. For inquiries, email [email protected] or call tel. nos. 8823-0956 or (0917)107-5581. Follow @salcedoauctions on Instagram and Facebook.

Read more:

Getting to know Armida Siguion-Reyna through great Philippine art


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