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Arts & Culture: Belle Arte Residential Condominiums spearheads the up-and-coming Art Deco District of Bacolod City

BACOLOD, PHILIPPINES — The premiere Art Deco Developers of the country, MarosVill Development Corporation with the completion of Belle Arte Residential Condos has inspired the emergence of the Art Deco district in the city.

Started in Paris in 1925, Art Deco is an architectural and design movement that was first to gain popularity globally. Some of the world’s most iconic Art Deco buildings are the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings in Manhattan. Cities like Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, and London also boast some of the most iconic Art Deco buildings in the world.

Art Deco has also flourished in Asia, in metropolitan cities like Hanoi Vietnam, Shanghai China, and Hong Kong.

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What is little known is that Art Deco also made its way to the Philippines, mostly in Manila, in the 1930s and 40s respectively. Personal estates, theaters, museums, and apartment buildings built in the Art Deco style littered the bustling streets of Malate and Escolta.

Unfortunately, much of the Art Deco masterpieces in Manila were destroyed during World War II and the rest have been neglected, sold, or demolished since. Although one survivor exists to this day, completely intact, and that is Bacolod City’s very own Daku Balay, the ancestral mansion of the Villanueva Clan.

Built-in 1936 by the family patriarch Don Generoso Villanueva it became an iconic architectural building recognized as a national heritage treasure and is known to be one of the largest Art Deco private residences in the Philippines.

With its 3 story height, it was the tallest building in Bacolod until 1959. It also features exteriors and interiors that exhibit some of the most cutting-edge construction of the time. From the grand marble spiral staircase to the porthole windows, to the Italian-style reliefs that adorn the walls and tell visual stories of local Hiligaynon folktales – there is no other house in the Philippines and beyond that achieves Art Deco on this level with Filipiniana elements built into the structure.

Inspired by the Daku Balay and led by the vision of MarosVill Development Corporation’s president Ms. Lilia Villanueva, Belle Arte Residential Condominiums was built on the same lot in order to complement the Art Deco heritage of the family’s and city’s past.

It should be noted that there is another Art Deco residence located across the street from Daku Balay, built by Don Generoso Villanueva for his sister. Now with 2 authentic heritage Art Deco buildings and 1 Art Deco-inspired condominium located on the same block, it is time to acknowledge the neighborhood as the Art Deco District of Bacolod.

Belle Arte is a continuation of Don Generoso Villanueva’s vision 80 years ago to create a modern and sophisticated district for the city of Bacolod,” said Lilia Villanueva, President, MarosVill Development Corporation.

Defining the neighborhood as the Art Deco District in the hopes of protecting the heritage houses in the area and potentially developing more Art Deco-inspired buildings, will greatly benefit the city in several ways.

Similar to the success of the city of Silay and the Ruins in Talisay, it will greatly influence the increase in heritage tourism and will put the city on the map as the first to have a district designated as Art Deco.

Located in the heart of this new heritage destination, Belle Arte Residential Condominiums is a mid-rise, boutique vertical community for those who appreciate the heritage design, superior construction, high ceilings, spacious units, usable balconies, stunning views, central location, and a safe community.

In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the building was quick to implement strict health and safety protocols, to ensure that residents are protected against the threats of the virus.

Currently, residents can enjoy Belle Arte’s sunset roof deck featuring the best 360-degree views of the city, mountains, and ocean. It also has a private gym and the acclaimed Cafe Oscar, Bacolod’s premier farm-to-table restaurant and art gallery. This is in addition to its 24-hour shifting security, concierge, and CCTV network.

The plans for an expansion with Belle Arte Residential Condominiums Phase 2 have been delayed due to the pandemic. However, planning and development will resume around 2023. This new development will feature additional units, added amenities, a swimming pool, a function hall, and several more commercial spaces.

Marosvil Development Corporation is in negotiations with renowned developers in the country and has expressed its interest to partner with like-minded investors from the real estate development, tourism, and hospitality industries who share the vision of an Art Deco District in Bacolod and beyond.

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