Photo Marc Henrich Go

The prodigious young architect adds a distinct flair to modern Filipino design


There’s reason to believe that expertise in design runs in Carlo Calma’s blood. Both his uncle and his cousin—Lor Calma and son Ed—are renowned architects. His father Pabling is a retired civil engineer who was once a leading interior contractor. Design, one can imagine, came naturally to the 41-year-old Carlo Calma.

But bloodline aside, Calma’s merits stand tall on their own—so tall, in fact, that he is now one of the country’s most prominent architects. He finished courses in sculpture, painting and light design at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco in 2003, and then moved to London and graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 2009. He then went on to build a formidable body of work, including structures, interiors and installations. Known for his progressive, art-informed style, Calma has designed restaurants like Gallery by Chele (formerly Gallery Vask), which he co-owns, and Mesa. He has also had art installations in Solaire Resort and Casino and Nuvali.

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Did you know?

Carlo Calma originally wanted to explore a career in interior design but was eventually persuaded by his father to become an architect.

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