Tips and Guides

5 Ideas to Steal from Offices In Escolta

Take home some ingenious storage and style tricks from these hip spaces

Photography: Michael Angelo Chua

As this popular street in Manila slowly blossoms and becomes a design hub, it also becomes a source of abundant design inspiration. Get your dose of Art Deco while walking around Escolta, and cop some clever design ideas that you can use in your own home.

1. Experiment with the rough look.

Raw cement finish is the new white because it acts like a blank canvas. This is evident in Hub|Make Lab's space at the ground floor of First United Building in Escolta. It is designed as such so creatives who will occupy the different booths have freedom to inject their own personalities into the space. To achieve this look, simply leave your concrete walls and floors as they are—no paint needed!—and have these surfaces waxed.

2. Consider having upcycled shelves.

Once you step inside 1/0 Design Collective's office, you would immediately be captivated by the rebars-turned-shelving which create a grid-like storage space. These open shelves allow natural light from the windows to freely pass through, making this design office a bright, inspiring place to work in.

Cop this look by getting an open shelving with steel frames and using it to distinguish one area from another in a small space, like a condo unit.

3. Create a casual loft.

Artist Derek Tumala created a makeshift loft where the upper level acts as a cozy work area with its low table, area rug, and cushions. Meanwhile, the space underneath is occupied by shelves and tables containing Derek's tools. Having a loft like this is a clever way of saving on floor space. You can assign the upper level as your sleeping area, while the space underneath can be your home office.

4. Carve out a makeshift pantry.

Don't have sufficient counter space in your kitchen? Use shelves to store and organize small appliances and other knickknacks—as seen in the office of 1/0 Design Collective. If your appliances are sleek and pretty, they can serve as decor, too.

RL Tip: Make sure to clean your appliances and shelves regularly in order to maintain its spic-and-span look.

5. Build a library-and-desk in one.

If you don't have the luxury of having a separate room for all your books, incorporate your library into your work area. Have some shelves with a "built-in" desk, as seen in the office of 98B COLLABoratory. Keep your books organized using pretty bookends that can also serve as decor.

To read more about Escolta, grab the August issue of Real Living magazine—out now in bookstores and newsstands nationwide. You can also download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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