Meet The Prefab King – Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
Robbie Antonio works with top architects and interior designers to build sophisticated prefab homes.
Reputable for invigorating the real estate development business the world over for his ingenious approach to pre-fab technologies, meet one man responsible for that – Robbie Antonio, Revolution Precrafted. This CEO and his firm have done up 82 million square feet of developed, in-progress, and managed properties under his helm. More interestingly, he’s worked with some of the world’s most prestigious architects such as Rem Koolhas, Jean Nouvel, I.M. Pei, Zaha Hadid, to name a few. Palace magazine is privileged that the busy multi-hyphenate individual, director of Century Properties, a Philippine real estate development company established by his father, Jose, E. B. Antonio, in 1986, found 15 minutes to share some of his business insights.
PALACE MAGAZINE (PM): Share with us your daily inspiration when you work?
Robbie Antonio (RA): I am inspired to work daily knowing that there are new countries for me to enter. It inspires me to know that there are more things we can do and be better at.
PM: What are some of the challenges ahead that you see as “opportunities”?
RA: One of the challenges we face is that there is a greater demand for vertical structures. Developers want to increase land efficiency so there’s more preference for condos rather than vertical developments. Instead of being a roadblock, we see this an opportunity to go out of our comfort zones and expand our product portfolio to include vertical structures.
PM: What is your mantra for living?
RA: “Effect change” – that’s what I remind myself every day.
PM: What are three traits of a person (clients, partners, employees) you look out for when working in this industry?
RA: I like working with people who are passionate, creative and determined because these are not people who like to challenge themselves. These are the people who are willing to question the status quo and create something new and better. I also possess these traits and it’s always nice working with people who have the same goals, drive, and discipline.
PM: Do you see any disruptor in this industry? If so, how does it disrupt?
RA: Without sounding self-serving, I believe that Revolution Precrafted is a true disruptor in the industry. Yes, there were prefab players already even when we started, but there was no one doing the products that we do. We create stunning design-forward structures that really redefine prefab. We create pieces in partnership with some of the world’s leading architects, designers and artists, which you can’t imagine before because of the misconceptions and notions about prefab.
PM: Name three USPs in your business that set it apart from other developers in the world?
RA: We take a lot of pride in our business model because it’s something you don’t see often in the real estate industry. One main selling proposition is speed. We can build homes in as fast as two or three months. Obviously, this is something you usually can’t do in traditional homebuilding. Second, the quality of our homes is topnotch, since we work with some of the top fabricators around the world. We use advanced robotics and other digital processes to ensure fast production and delivery. Finally, we are the only branded prefab company in the world to have 80 of the best creative minds in the realm of architecture, art and design on an exclusive partnership with us. These three elements make us the leading, international prefab company.
PM: How do you see your business in 10 years’ time?
RA: We expect to be the biggest prefab developer in the world in the next 10 years. We would be present in virtually all countries in the world. We initially targeted to be present in 25 countries at the end of 2018; currently, we are now present in 22 countries, so we are moving at a very fast pace and we don’t expect to slow down because we are continuously working hard to be the at the top of our industry.
PM: What kind of cities will benefit from your innovative construction modules, and why?
RA: Any city can benefit from our technology because we can virtually transport and install homes anywhere. As mentioned, we are now in 22 countries in Asia, Middle East, South America, Central America, North America and Europe. We expect to be in 55 countries by 2019, and 85 countries by 2020, so you see, we don’t have any geographical barriers in terms of our reach. It will all depend on the kind of homes they want. On one hand, we have our “basics collection”, our entry-level homes designed by the Revolution Precrafted team. These are homes ranging from 23 to 72 square meters (i.e. 247 to 775 square feet) that can be completed in two to three months and the price begins at USD 10,000. One the other hand, we have our branded, curated homes which measures 60 to 120 sqm (i.e. 646 square feet to 1,292 square feet) and the price ranges from USD 60,000 to USD 360,000.
PM: What do you think is lacking in the industry as a developer?
RA: As a developer, I think that some of the pain points by consumers are not always addressed. Building homes or condos take a long time, and they cost a lot of money. Most homes are too generic and uninspired. These are the things that we sought to address as soon as we decided to create Revolution Precrafted and I think that we are heading in the right direction.
PM: Do you think your creations are more function than form? If so/not, why?
RA: It is a balance of both. The main point of prefab homes is that they are easily built, and they are very functional. But by adding the element of branded design, we also address the aesthetics and make the homes quite interesting and appealing to the senses. Our products are something that every owner will be proud to own.
PM: Do you think your building/construction innovation will help land-scarce cities, if so, why?
RA: Our focus over the past two years is mainly on current horizontal developments. This meant that we needed to be in cities where there’s an abundance of land. However, together with our fabricators, we now have the technology to go vertical and develop mid-rise towers as high as 8 to 15 storeys. This is a gamechanger for us because suddenly, we can now offer something more, and we can be present even in cities with lesser land. We can develop both residential and offices, so we will have more flexibility.
PM: What are your thoughts about cryptocurrency in today’s context, especially, with big-ticket items such as property, cars, yachts?
RA: Cryptocurrency is something that excites us because of its potential. We are in the possibility of having an ICO (i.e. initial coin offering) sometime in the next year to underscore our positioning as a property-tech company. We will be introducing landmark services that will entice the public to participate in the ICO.
PM: Who do you look up to the most, and why?
RA: Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. They are respected individuals who made the most money and gave it all away for philanthropic reasons.
PM: What kind of misconceptions do people have about your innovations, if so, how do you educate/inform them?
RA: One of the major misconceptions about prefab homes is that they have lesser quality than traditionally-built homes. But with our technology, you can be sure that this is not the case and I think that the great demand for our products is a great testament to the confidence of the industry on our work. We now have a total of USD 8.1 billion worth of project revenues with our global partners including publicly-listed companies, and we expect to deliver 35,000 units in the next three to four years. Read more about the company’s works here.