By Olivia Estrada
When it comes to real estate development in The Philippines, a few names leave an impact. One of them is Victor Consunji.
As the head of Victor Consunji Development Corporation (VCDC), Consunji allows a fresh approach to living. Armed with the knowledge of construction from his heritage and the drive to push the boundaries, any development Consunji creates has a distinct character. Their flagship concept, MResidences, comes to mind.
Innovation is also where VCDC thrives as they opened up their business to the digital sphere. With their online facility, you can shop for your next home in your pajamas. Indeed, that beats out the last checkout you’ve done.
This spirit leads another pioneering development, Vie by VCDC, which also finds a home in Bali. In this cover story, Consunji talks about Vie and how they’ve also tapped into the world of cryptocurrency, along with some personal insights that take him (literally) to the edge.
Tell us more about your newest project Vie by VCDC.
It’s a lifestyle brand. Vie encapsulates the real purpose of developments and housing. It’s all about life. And the name Vie was derived from “C’est la vie,” which is “Such is life.”
What inspired Vie?
The pandemic changed our relationship with our homes. Whereas before, it’s just a place you kind of “came home to.” Now, it’s the center of your life. It’s the foundation from which the rest of your life starts.
Due to the pandemic and moving forward, we realize that we need to be grounded somewhere. We decided to come up with a brand whose business is life instead of something whose business is building houses. The house is the literal foundation of where your whole family and lifestyle takes root.
How does Vie by VCDC differ from your other developments?
Vie is a “leave the city” brand. Therefore, anything you may need on a whim takes a little longer to get. It means that the house has to be self-sustaining. I’m not just talking about needs like groceries. You also need to have everything for your peace of mind. We’re talking about space; we’re talking about ventilation. Vie has an introspective focus on what you need.
I guess that’s why it talks about automation and being intuitive.
The focus is on being environmentally conscious. We go for solar panels and rain capture. All these things are part of the need to be responsible. You’re responsible for contributing to society in small ways. It’s also about general efficiency, having the advantage of saving some money or having convenience, with social or environmental responsibility.
What’s the importance of sustainability in creating a hassle-free home?
In the point of view of sustainability, don’t you want your house to be future-proof and potentially last for decades?
A home that’s poorly built will have to be rebuilt over and over again. Every time you rebuild that home, that’s an additional carbon footprint that has to be accounted for. That’s an additional cost and inconvenience. It’s a disruption to lifestyle every single time. We’ve tried to design the home in a way that doesn’t have to deal with all of that.
We’re also trying to put in some technology. Some of these technologies are a bit high-tech. Some of them are environmentally oriented, like solar panels. Some are also financially oriented. We’ll be offering furniture packages, all from a sustainability point of view. It reduces the financial impact on the homeowner. It allows you to tuck it all into the financing of the house. Therefore allowing the homeowner, the family that lives there, to have a lower financial burden. This lower financial burden allows them a higher quality of life.
Let’s talk about Vie in Bali.
For a good portion during this pandemic, most people had one side of their home as their vacation house, and the other side was their home. Who wants to have a house that feels like you’re trapped? Why can’t you have your home as your staycation? A lot of people get stressed out at home because things are inconvenient.
We’ve decided to make things convenient. Therefore, you remove the stress and turn your home into a vacation venue. You go and check into a villa and enjoy the holistic atmosphere and lifestyle they offer. If you’re looking for the poster child of beautiful villas and the perfect place to have a vacation, that would be Bali.
In the case of our development, we are three hundred meters on a cliff. We have a beautiful view south of the entire ocean, with waves crashing down below. I imagine that those lucky enough to purchase these villas will eventually not want to leave, and instead, will have people coming in to visit.
How have you’ve integrated cryptocurrency and Vie by VCDC?
Cryptocurrency opens up the ability to have all your financial requirements in a decentralized platform that’s on the cloud. Essentially, you can do everything you need in the traditional financing world, except you’re doing it electronically. Now, what does that mean for developers such as myself? It means that if we can link the crypto world to physical assets in the real world, it allows people to use crypto assets just like how they use traditional money.
If you wanted to buy one of our villas abroad, instead of going through the hassle of transferring funds, all you have to do is transfer tokens, and ownership is yours. It simplifies things, and the opportunity of that is incredible. We’ve taken a step further through our partners in ECTA. ECTA is a token that’s being developed in Bali right now. What we’ve done is we’re the first fractional NFT.
The online NFT represents an actual physical property in the real world. With our fractional NFT, if you decided that you want to own five percent of our villa in Bali, you could go online buy five percent of the outstanding tokens for that villa. It allows you to become a part-owner of this villa and enjoy a portion of the benefits of that villa.
That’s amazing! It also makes ownership of real estate more secure.
The blockchain has an indisputable fact of who the original owners are. Who every lessee is down the line was. It’s all about digital contracts.
It opens up the world. What are the other benefits of this?
The other beauty of it is that if you want to have a portfolio of villas that you want to invest in, you don’t have to go to, say, Spain to buy a villa or arrange for it to be rented out. All you have to do is go on our NFT marketplace and pick a villa you like. You don’t even have to own the whole thing. You can own fractions of, for example, 300 villas and get rental incomes on all of them.
A good foundation
What’s 2022 going to be like for VCDC in general?
2022 for us is all about looking forward. We have a lineup of projects with a focus on lifestyle. When people say lifestyle, people automatically think of activities, like where you will go and what restaurants you eat at.
Lifestyle is more fundamental than that. Lifestyle is more about the foundations of what you do with your routine. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to be launching more projects, right, both here in The Philippines and Indonesia, with the focus of really getting down to the roots.
What’s one thing you’ll never compromise about your brand?
When I come to the table, I would like the people who buy from us. Yes, we’re receiving payment for this product, but I’m also putting a value on the table that makes it worth their while. The sum of the two parts should be greater than the whole. If you go to one extreme, one side gets the value; the other side doesn’t get much. If you go to the other extreme, that other side receives the value, but we don’t. I want to be somewhere where you take two sums and come out with something bigger.
Who are the constant critics that you listen to?
Oh, that’s easy. That’s our clients. It doesn’t matter how successful the company can be. There are always flaws; there’s always a margin to grow. Every generation of our products is an iteration, an improvement, on real-life scenarios that people have shared with us.
What’s your routine? I feel like your schedule is fascinating.
No, is it? My daily schedule is, honestly, relatively mundane. It’s mostly comprised of working, doing some fitness, doing some family time and then some hobbies. I think what happens is, maybe it’s the intensity that people find attractive. Whenever it is that I do something, it’s got to be one hundred or not at all.
Whether it’s a hard workout or focusing on something specific at work, it’s got to be one hundred percent. If you’re going to slack off, you’re just wasting time. Every day should be an accomplishment. Every day should have some small degree of improvement in your life.
I was wondering what next adventure you’re dreaming of. In light of how we’re looking at a year that’s more open than the past two years.
One thing you need to know about me is although I love to get things done and do extreme sports, I also get bored very quickly. I was actually just having this conversation with my other race partners. We were thinking of actually doing something called Ski Last Degree.
I ended up running on all seven continents because the problem was after I ran my first marathon, I didn’t want to do another marathon that was the same.
Eventually, I said, well, how extreme do you want to go? The most extreme place in the world is on a sheet of ice that’s constantly cracking in Antarctica with a genuine risk of getting stranded forever.
Ski Last Degree takes roughly about 12 days, and you have to be completely self-sufficient in the most extreme circumstances in the world.
How will this chapter of your life shape your views on relationships?
You know, people need to grow. Things happen. Nobody’s perfect. Having this perspective honestly is a good thing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m sad. Who wouldn’t be? You always want the best for your family. You also want to be gentle with yourself. But, having said that, this is is another thing that you can use to grow. To be a little bit wiser, be a little more knowledgeable. To have a bigger perspective, to see and empathize with other people on their plight.
Whereas before you were looking at it from an outsider’s view and say it’s so easy to say to look at it and say, “That’s how it is.” Now you have more empathy for that situation. More appreciation for the little things.
What’s one thing people get wrong about you?
People seem to think that I’m out all the time or just a wild child. I’m quite a homebody introvert. I like to live a quiet life; it just doesn’t turn out that way. The majority of my life is quite private, only a very small component is public, and that’s just an incredibly small part of my personality.
Photos by Artu Nepomuceno
Styling by Meg Manzano
Grooming by Tin Albano
Shot on location Vie at Southern Plains
Originally Published as Victor Consunji and the power of sustainable, future-proof homes in Lifestyle.INQ