top of page

Walking Away from the Corporate Ladder: How Madrigal+Lopez Chose their Own Timing

It cannot be understated how today’s millennial generation is at an economical disadvantage in various ways. With modern challenges complicating people’s normal social and career paths, it can be difficult to stay in line and commit to traditional life paths.

This is why there have been droves of entrepreneurs paving their own paths toward success.

While most business owners would typically find their own way after a few trials and errors, this wasn’t the case for the founders of Madrigal + Lopez Architecture.

At the ripe age of 25, among the youngest of today’s professionals in the scene, the co-founders of this firm realized that this was a decision can be a lot easier by having each other’s backs.

The Vista Magallanes aims to attract vacationers by its eco-friendly and tropical design concept, with two Villas containing a number of Casitas, complete with a dip pool on a piece of land that spreads over 1.20 hectares.

On Taking a Leap of Faith

Studio Madrigal + Lopez architecture was a leap of faith, driven by its two namesake founders. Born from the height of the pandemic in 2021, Madrigal + Lopez Architecture is a multi-disciplinary company founded by a group of young and highly creative professionals headed by Ar. Danilo Madrigal III and Ar. Joelene Lopez.

While the two worked in different bases, Ar. Joelene in the Philippines and Ar. Danilo in Dubai, they both connected in.

During the first few months of the pandemic, Ar. Joelene and Ar. Danilo realized that they didn’t have a lot of control in being an employee. While many businesses saw the pandemic as a push to halt or scale down operations, Ar. Joelene found it as an opportunity to do more as an individual

“Once we started with the work from home setup, we say that it’s possible to build a company much easier today. The pandemic was really an eye-opener and we saw the opportunities of working online.”

- Ar. Joelene

Being stuck indoors had its perks for the Ar. Joelene and Ar. Danilo. Instead of the grueling hours of commuting from one place to another, they both found more time to study instead of working full-time. This helped them realize that they shouldn’t be complacent with their knowledge and explore possibilities for their own fulfillment.

Leaving one’s comfort zones is never easy, as Ar. Danilo has to sacrifice opportunities abroad as he decided to take the leap with Ar. Joelene. But the chance of working closer to home with his family and his partner was a chance worth taking. One small project led to another, which helped the two find the confidence to start their own firm. But it wouldn’t be as easy to leave the comfort of their jobs if they weren’t partners in more than one sense.

In designing the Breeze Oriental Spa and Massage Flagship Store, M + L Architects integrated the Southeast Asian traditional and modern design elements

On Being Partners in More Than One Sense

Having been long-time friends for years, Ar. Danilo and Ar. Joelene already had a strong relationship as friends. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Technological Institute of the Philippines in 2017.

Both of them went their separate yet aligned career paths, coincidentally working with Dubai-based architectural firms. After six years of knowing each other, it was only after they graduated that the beginnings of a more intimate relationship developed.

They ultimately found that this foundation of being friends and partners made it easier for them to work together.

“Unlike when you start with a co-worker or a stranger, we didn’t have to add time to get to know each other. We already knew each other so we can focus sooner on being business partners.”- Ar. Danilo

It’s a reality that balancing work-life relationships can be difficult, even more so when starting your own business. However, the two principal architects have seen the value of sharing experiences both good and bad.

Ar. Joelene states that

“Despite it being a high-stress activity, it’s also an opportunity to grow as a partner and a professional. It’s not just the stress of running a company, but you also share the wins.”

On Finding Balance Between Personal and Professional

With regard to their working dynamic, Ar. Danilo and Ar. Joelene show that the key to getting things done is to be objective and honest with each other.

“Admittedly there are ideas that we don’t know. It’s not just with our colleagues but also with our partners. If we have different takes on a design, we have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages to agree on that.” - Ar. Joelene