The Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) has a huge remit: Boosting the fortunes of makers in 16 sub-sectors, ranging from film and cuisine, to architecture and interior design. Agency officials have been hustling to introduce Indonesia to a global audience by bringing local makers to international exhibitions, such as Ambiente, a premiere international exhibition for product design, held annually in Frankfurt, Germany, in March. The delegation, led by Bekraf deputy chairman for marketing Joshua Simanjuntak, himself a notable furniture designer, had products curated by designers Baskoro “Koko” Junianto and Diana Nazir.
Several things were key for the brands selected to go to Ambiente, Baksoro said: Stable manufacturing, good quality product and standardization. “Finally, the designs should have potential to meet the global market.” Good design needs good product quality, Baksoro adds. “Indonesia has that capability, but sometimes people do not push their capabilities to the limit.”Baksoro and Diana, along with Bekraf, dug deep to find the brands that had the right stuff to make it at Ambiente. We spoke to Baksoro about the brands and the curation process. Here’s what we learned.
Wisanka has been making original furniture designs since 1993 and has an R&D team to ensure design and product quality meet market demand. “I asked them to create a new design instead of proposing a regular item,” Baksoro said. “I directed a little bit about the design to say that it should have local storytelling.”
In response, Wisanka devised a lamp that combines rattan and wood that takes the shape of a shrimp, or rebon, in the dialect in Cirebon, West Java, where the lighting division of the brand is based. Rattan is a common building material in Cirebon, a seaside town known for its many shrimp fishermen. Baksoro said that Wisanka was worth of emulation for its use of local materials, original design and artisanal labor.
Nuanza Ceramic has been gaining attention for its works of sophisticated ceramic and porcelain. All of its products are made by local artisans in a workshop in Boyolali, Central Java. “I’ve been to Nuanza’s factory in Boyolali, and the owner showed me how they make the Bali dancer figurine,” Baksoro said. “Nuanza has capability to create difficult objects based on ceramic and porcelain, in any shape and form.”
Also on display at Ambiente were several ceramic tiles from Nuanza, evincing a contemporary approach to ceramic design n neutral, modern colour combinations, such as white and gold. “Nuanza is a brand of perfection. They could create high quality porcelain and ceramic products,” Baksoro said. “I stressed their perfection and attention to detail, rather the design.”
Magno, a small brand of luxury radios from a tiny village in Central Java, is one of the most famous examples of contemporary Indonesian product design, earning designer Singgih Susilo Kartono many accolades. Magno radios combine retro and modern aesthetics, with bodies crafted from locally sourced timber by local artisans in a workshop Koko says is well structured and high performing. He likes everything abound the brand, Baksoro says. “Magno is not just a brand. It has a spirit of current Indonesian design that should be promoted to global society,” he adds. “Magno is a very good example of the new face of Indonesian crafts and design.”
Industrial designer Abie Abdillah started his design firm, Studio Hiji, just a few years after graduating from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). Hiji means “one” in the local language of Sundanese, reflecting its customers, who are “No. 1”.
Baksoro praised Abie for connecting with local and foreign companies, including Milan-based Cappelini, run by Gulio Cappellini, who Indonesia Design talks with in our article on Singapore Design Week in this edition. “What makes Studio Hiji unique is not just their designs, but that they always consider many other aspects, such as price, ergonomics and, of course, the market,” Baksoro said.
Studio Hiji uses locally sourced rattan for sustainability, durability and environmental friendliness. Prior to Ambiente, the brand’s Loop Chair on display appeared at the Milan Triennale, Gwangju Design Biennale Korea and Maison&Objet Asia.
Bathseba Satyaallangghya, Fauzy Prasetya, Nuri Fatimah and Tisa Granicia
Kandura is one-of-a-kind in ceramic startup brand, adding a touch of fun and contemporary lifestyle to their products, Baksoro says. Expect to see irregularities and the feel of handcrafted products. “They have their own workshop and really focus on the production.”
The studio started in 2005 making ceramic tableware. Founders Fauzy, Tisa and Ghia met at ITB, while Nuri joined in 2009. The team is best known for their conservation of a ceramic wall at Museum Bank Indonesia.
Their Teribi and Nibble series and Moyo teapot were showcased at Ambiente. “These products exhibit our excellence in function, aesthetics and surface quality,” says Fauzy. Nibble and Moyo were launched in 2013, while Teribi, inspired by a family trip to Chile, came in 2015.
Kandura delivers a younger style of ceramics and pottery product that is oriented to younger generations,” Baksoro says. “Kandura is very fresh, fun and trying to be different.”