Understanding Global Design with Budi Pradono

Photography By Bagus Tri Laksono

Budi Pradono has had a decade of studying and working abroad before he decided to come home and start his own firm, Budi Pradono Architects (BPA). In an interview with Indonesia Design, he shared about the research-based architectural studio, being a global citizen and his future projects.

Growing up in a small town of Salatiga didn’t stop Budi from pursuing an international career. After getting his bachelor’s degree in architecture in Yogyakarta, he continued his study in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Then he spent a few years working with architects in the Netherlands, UK, Japan and Australia.

Different countries, different cultures, different work ethics. In the Netherlands Budi learnt to design by kilometres because the Dutch architects are excellent in making masterplans. “The Japanese are very detailed and everything is measured down to the millimetre. They are also dedicated. Often I did not come home to my apartment until after a few days because I had to finish work at the office,” he said in reminiscence. At the BPA office he provides a long table for everyone to have meals together. “This is something I learned from the offices in the Netherlands. Having lunch together, as well as coffee breaks, gives us a chance to communicate better with our colleagues,” he added.

One thing that he cannot stress more in the company is the importance of research. “A design that’s based on proper research will sustain forever. When we are solving a problem with research, we can get specific results but also many options. And the data that we keep can come handy in the next projects. It also makes us more alert with the current situation because of the investigations that we do,” he explained.

One of BPA’s ongoing projects is building a restaurant in Ubud, a project they won in a competition by a client from the Netherlands. The research that they did for this design not only includes building materials but also food ingredients and the way people eat. Located amidst paddy fields, the building will almost look like it’s camouflaged within paddies or tall grass. The intention is to make the users feel close with nature, just like his many other projects. Some of his well-known projects are Bamboo House, his family house in Salatiga, Slanted House, a residence in South Jakarta and Clay House, a hillside house in Lombok. All of them have almost an unobstructed view of greenery.

Budi, having an eclectic, cultural and educational influence, plus the research in their every project, help BPA to make creative and unpredictable design solutions. He has received a number of international awards and recognitions, such as International Architecture Biennale (Rotterdam, 2010) and World Architecture Festival Award (Barcelona, 2008).

Budi named Kengo Kuma, Rem Koolhaas and Winy Maas as some of his biggest influences in architecture. Having decades of experience himself, he has some important tips for young architects, “Style is dead. We cannot rely on just a certain style. We have to create based on phenomena. Also, think globally. Perhaps you reside in Jakarta, but you have to think about projects around the world.” In fact, in 2020, BPA is going to participate in competitions and events in Brazil, Milan and Denmark.

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Vira Tanka
Having her bachelor degree from Visual Communication Design of Bandung Institute of Technology, she explored her other interest in writing by being a writer for TV programs and travel magazines. Always keeping her love for the art, she actively sketches just about everything, from urban landscape to nature, in between writing projects.
Bagus Tri Laksono