Philippine’s Robbie Antonio Takes Designer Home Building Global


I recently caught up with Robbie Antonio. He is a brand expert among other talents that range from philanthropy, art and also a very skilled entrepreneur. Robbie and I worked on the first ever Forbes Media Tower that he is currently building in Manila and since then he has been a force to be reckoned with on a number of fronts. He was kind enough to share about his new venture and his other initiatives. 

Robbie Antonio and Miguel

Robbie and I at Forbes Media Tower signing ceremony Manila, Philippines.

Forbes: You have accomplished a great deal in real estate and many other ventures in the Philippines. Please tell us about this and what your formula for success has been?

Antonio: In my case, it is persistence; creativity and a bold entrepreneurial spirit that helped me reach my career goals. When I started Antonio Development in New York to build the Centurion condominium (the only ground up residential project in the world designed by legendary I.M. Pei), I had to understand one of the most complex real estate markets in the world, meet the players, and compete ferociously. This valuable experience prepared me for what I would later be doing in Century Properties, which was to differentiate the company via securing international partnerships with global brands. It is evident that possessing the most developments associated with fashion brands (Armani, Hermes, Versace, Missoni) in the world, coupled with initiatives with major designers such as Philippe Starck, and positioning Hollywood celebrities have been a compelling value proposition in developing markets.

Forbes: You have been very active in philanthropy for a number of years. What are some of the initiatives that you are currently sponsoring and planning for in years ahead?

Antonio: For a couple of years now, I have sat on the board of Operation Smile, the international organization dedicated to helping children born with cleft deformities. This includes raising funds to expedite surgeries and raising awareness for the cause. The Philippines has been hit by some natural disasters last year. As a local company with expertise in development, I felt it was incumbent upon us to offer help in this fashion. It was important to assist in Shugeru Ban’s disaster relief project to build temporary shelters in Cebu, Philippines.In addition, Century Properties together with Open Online Academy are currently working on post-disaster architectural design for resilient schools and emergency shelters. Instead of an interim solution we decided to jumpstart a game-changing advocacy that will help make a difference in how we build tomorrow’s homes, schools and structures.

Forbes: You are also a patron of the arts. Do you support any local Philippine emerging artists that you can tell us about?

Antonio: I’m thoroughly interested in raising greater consciousness in art among the international and local community. As a patron of the arts, design, culture, and fashion, I have set up the Stealth Foundation where promising artistic careers in the Philippines are nurtured. Internationally, I have been involved as committee board member at the Whitney Museum as well as the Guggenheim Museum. Most importantly, I have collaborated with seven Pritzker Prize architects in various philanthropic/architectural/art initiatives because these people inspire emerging architects and their projects serve as cultural beacons to the community.

Forbes: What are some impact investment opportunities in the Philippines? Meaning business opportunities that also provide material social benefits with self-sustaining profitable going concerns?

Antonio: An industry with social benefits in terms of job generation is the office sector, particularly in Business Process Outsourcing and IT. The last decade has been a particularly wonderful period in that more companies have been setting up shop on our shores, leading to more employment and of course, more demand for office space. The property sector is responding, the way we did when we set to do our office developments: Century Spire (interior designed by Armani Casa), Asian Century Center (with BMW Philippines), and of course, the Forbes Media Tower – a deal our firm aspired to ensure the country would have the first announced tower in partnership with the most formidable business media empire.






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