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May 01, 2010

The art of (condo) living

Maintenance-free convenience suits international businessman’s lifestyle

Pepper Rodriguez

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Ramon Fosado has a healthy appreciation of the arts; he has several distinctive paintings and sculptures from some renowned names in the international art world and he is proud to have them on display in his penthouse apartment.

Ramon himself comes from a long line of artists, a grandfather and an uncle are big names in the art scene in his native Mexico, and he also proudly displays this heritage in his condo. His father owned a very well known folk art gallery in Oaxaca for over 35 years and his aunt still runs one of the oldest and most reputable galleries of Mexican antiques and art in Mexico City that was opened by his grandfather in 1940.

“Art enlivens any room, it gives a feeling of warmth and culture,” Ramon says, that’s actually one of the things that he thought was going to be a challenge when moving into a condo: finding space to display his art collection.

“I grew up in a family of artists and I do have a deep appreciation for them.” His collection includes works by Conrad Ouchi, and Stephen Riether — both local artists — and Shinzaburo Takeda, which are prominently displayed in his flat. Takeda, a Japanese artist, successfully blends Eastern and Western sensibilities in his evocative work. Interestingly his art is actually catalogued as one of the best among Mexican artists from Oaxaca — where Ramon’s mother still lives.

Ramon lived most of his life in single-family houses. As a young boy his idea of a home was plenty of rooms, a big yard with family gathered around all the time mostly around the dinner table. But he never realized how liberating life in a condominium could be until he moved into one last November.

Ramon was born in Mexico City but has been living in Calgary for the last 20 years. “My business has required a lot of travel in the past, and taking care of the lawn and snow shoveling in the winter were difficult to deal with. I could see the benefits of living in a condo without worrying about dealing with any maintenance in the future.”

Ramon is the President and CEO of Diversa Incorporated, an investment consulting firm, and work usually takes him to Mexico or the U.S.A. for several days at a time. “It is so liberating to think that I’ll be able to just lock the doors to my condo and know everything will be taken care of when I come back from any trip.”

He is on the top floor of the 14-storey Wellington Estates condominium in an inner city community in the southwest, and his two-bedroom, two-bath 1,628-square-foot penthouse is more than large enough for his needs. And there is plenty of wall space to hang his art pieces.

“At first I didn’t think it was possible for me to live in a condo. When I saw this unit the first time I saw that it had a lot of open space and it does have a spectacular view of the city, I immediately saw its potential.”

Ramon loves to entertain and the open concept design allows him to invite even as many as 20 people at a time. An exposed structural concrete column adds to the modern art gallery ambiance. The window wall in the living room opens to a wide balcony where you can really enjoy the city lights at night.

“It’s a good place to entertain, but also a comfortable place to work, I do most of my work here and can comfortably invite any client up to the suite.”

He is also an avid cook, and the wide-open kitchen with lots of counter space is perfect for his needs. He is known for his guacamole (made from scratch) and friends and family always request that he make some for his parties.

The condo’s location near 14 Street S.W. and Uptown 17th Avenue is also a big convenience for Ramon being close to downtown for meetings and places he likes in the neighbourhood.

For Ramon, condo means convenience — but that doesn’t mean you can’t express creativity as well. 

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