Defining Design with Genius Loci

Photography By Bagus Tri Laksono

Genius Loci (GL) is the brainchild of the design genius Alex Bayusaputro, who started the firm with just a laptop and a printer. GL now has five offices across Asia. They have just moved in to their new office in Jakarta, which marks a new chapter for this thriving business. We talked to the award-winning designer at his new office.

You do both the architectural and interior designs. Which do you start with?

I am indeed educated as an interior designer and GL started out as an interior design firm. But interior design and architecture are always in line. That is why I started to do architectural design, but my approach might be different from other designers. When I design, I start to wonder about the space experiments that I want to explore first. After that I continue to work on “the shell” that covers these spaces. This is why my architecture becomes very organic.

Can you describe your design process in creating this office?

I treated this office with the same approach. I didn’t really plan to include so many features. For a start, we need a workspace. And then we wanted a meeting room which we put on the opposite side. We wanted an opening at the heart of the office, and then we put a pond right at the centre. Then we wanted to have a meeting room “floating” on the pond, so we put another meeting room right there. As the principal, I want to be able to see the overall office from my room, so it had to be in the centre of the plan. Everything just fell into place.

What do you emphasise in your design?

I think what makes a good design is comfort, while making great design requires bold experimentation. I want my designs to offer different spatial experiences, not just a pretty face.

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Barbara Hahijary
Barbara earned her bachelor's degree in architecture from the Interior Architecture Program of the University of Indonesia in 2013. Historical or heritage buildings, as well as utilitarian design, fascinates her as it is the interaction between people and architecture that remains her favourite topic to explore. Besides architecture, her interests include design, handcrafts, literature and social issues.
Bagus Tri Laksono