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A Rooftop Condo Filled With Succulents And Art

This pottery artist’s city condo is a wonderland of beautiful greenery, artwork, and even a studio and working kiln

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Original Article: Kathleen Valle Photography: Michael Angelo Chua Styling: Dagny Madamba assisted by Chrisia Borda

A major highway is literally a stone’s throw away from pottery artist’s Joey de Castro’s home. So much so that, he shares in jest, he would sometimes play a human traffic advisory to his friends wishing to know the traffic flow on North-bound or South-bound lanes.

“Most potters live in the provinces. Yung yapak nila nakatapak sa lupa. But if the passion is so strong, it doesn’t matter where you are,” he says. Joey may not have sprawling grounds in a bucolic setting, but he’s far from wanting in space and comfort in his corner of the “urban jungle.” In fact, he has two floors to putter around in for his craft.

Joey’s studio is on the seventh floor. The potter’s wheels are there, as well as his mesmerizing inventory of raw materials—kaolin, ball clay, terracotta, silica, titanium, to name just a few—which he uses to make clay and glaze recipes from scratch. The pottery pieces are then brought up to the ninth floor—a former laundry area where the kiln now stands. “That’s my commute—seventh, eighth, ninth floors!” he enthuses.

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The eight floor houses the more private areas for him and his family. There’s a spacious rooftop garden laced with succulents, and there are also the kitchen, bedroom, and a living area that would sometimes transform into a concert stage featuring Joey’s favorite local rock artists. Aside from pottery art and gardening, he also indulges in music. 

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Though Joey’s pottery studio and home are in the same building, he describes his work routine as a typical eight-hour workday. He wakes up at five in the morning and ends his work at sunset—the only thing different is that he gets to have an extra hour off for siesta after lunch. 

This artist may be holed up most days and absorbed in his own brand of science, but he keeps abreast of current events. “You can’t be isolated if you live in a cave like mine. You have to be relevant,” he retorts. 

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