EXCLUSIVE: Metro Home Editor-In-Chief And TV Host Anton Barretto Takes Us Inside His Stylish Abode
Anton loves graciously proportioned furniture, striking art pieces and objects found on his travels.
On paper, Anton Barretto certainly has many responsibilities. He is the editor-in-chief of Metro Home magazine and now the host of the television show of the same title. He is the head of the AB Design Group, which undertakes interiors projects for private homes, restaurants, and small hotels. He is also the proprietor of Nest, a cult shop that hosts eclectic pop-ups and experimental retail events. But even with all these duties and obligations, he has never lost his sense of play.
In the table he has set for this feature, there is a witty playfulness that promises an evening that will be memorable, and most of all, just plain fun. “I just came from Iceland and learned that their national bird is the crow. Oddly enough, a few weeks after, I was in Rome and spotted a crow! I then didn’t want to do the usual floral arrangements and so I asked the florist to do these organic and amorphous pieces that look like pieces of a puzzle. I have always found puzzles fascinating, ever since I was a child. And so it seems as if the crow is just wandering among the flowers, just as it would in a park or a field.”
1. Living room: Strong statements don’t have to clash; the powerful art and the sculptural furniture are bold gestures but the whole is inviting and intriguing all at once, all set off by the white walls, floor and sofa. The Jaime Hayon chair is a new favorite. “When I saw him speak, I understood his pieces more. He really designs his emotions,” Anton enthuses. The Albor sculpture in the corner is another favorite and its stark modernity provides balance to the vibrant painting and the African royal mask. The Luz paper clip sculpture anchors the table. 2. Bedroom: The bedroom is serene but still shows Anton’s style savvy. A Moroccan rug and a painting by Pierre Bresson add the punches of color, while piles of design books and a favorite portrait make the space more personal. 3. Reading nook: Animal appeal is what its about, with a zebra rug and a fur throw add a sensuous texture to this seating area. The Fat Fat chair by Patricia Urquiola is inviting and sexy, one of the world’s true design icons. 4. Kitchen: Anton likes a few, well-chosen pieces such as the white juicer and the Alessi bowl so that the sculptural elements in his living room are echoed in his kitchen. 5. Home office: Tucked into a little space off the dining room, this perfectly designed work station is efficient and ergonomic. “I actually get so much work done there,” Anton confesses. “I plan my days and do a lot of thinking and designing there.” 6. Table setting: Anton loves entertaining at home; his penchant forthrowing parties can be traced back to his childhood, having seen how her lola loved throwing parties as well.
And his penchant for throwing parties and entertaining can also be traced to his childhood. “My lola loved throwing parties. And when I saw that there were so many things to choose from, such as the linens, the stemware, the cutlery, I began to find it interesting.” He then became his grandmother’s favorite collaborator. He would surprise her with fanciful celebrations where he would let his imagination run wild.
When he did a Filipino theme for her birthday one year, papier mache gigantes welcomed guests to the feast. For a Chinese theme, he draped an entire house in gauzy red fabric, and had the cake maker recreate a cherished blue and white vase. “For a perfect party, you really have to plan well. All the elements have to have an underlying cohesion even if they seem random at first. There has to be a bit of a surprise for the entertainment. For a small Christmas dinner, I got a caricature artist to make portraits of all the guests, and they loved it. It doesn’t have to be super expensive or lavish. And in the end, you’ve got to have a good mix of friends. That will really make the party.”
Anton Barretto takes his many obligations seriously but still likes to inject a sense of play and a dash of wonder to his spaces.
Anton Barretto also loves to rotate pieces of furniture and works of art to keep the energy of his place constantly moving. He is particularly fond of two new chairs and an Albor sculpture he has recently placed in a corner of his living room. “I like the Albor because it is very streamlined and disciplined. I love the blue Jaime Hayon wing chair because I love that feeling of a chair that is like a cocoon. Hayon came to Manila last year for a talk and it made me appreciate him more. You could see where he was coming from, that he is designing his emotions. I also love the Patricia Urquiola Fat Fat chair, it also envelops you and that makes it fun to sit in. It may seem simple, but you know that a lot of thought went into it.”
Anton Barretto likes to characterize his entertaining and decorating style as “casual.” But casual doesn’t mean it is not considered or crafted. It simply means that he wants to provide an atmosphere where people can be at their most relaxed; a setting where revelations and unabashed laughter can be unleashed.
*This article was originally published in Metro Society June 2018 issue.
Photographs by Paul del Rosario