Design Dossier: Rina Renville


After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Bandung Institute of Technology, Rina Renville went to work in Singapore before opening her own firm, De’Stijl Cipta Kreasi. Born on 12 October 1971, Rina is most celebrated for her work on Rumah Sakit Ibu dan Anak (RSIA) Kemang Medical Care Hospital, which gained a nod from the Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards in 2009. Rina has recently launched a product design label, Anja Furniture.

What’s your favourite space in Jakarta?
I like the old colonial buildings that are still functional to this day, such as the National Museum, the main building of University of Indonesia Medical Faculty in Salemba, Central Jakarta, and–this was built in the post-colonial era, but it is old and I like it–the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources building near Monas. I also like many of the abandoned buildings in Jakarta.

Define your personal style
Energetic, spontaneous, vibrant and a little bit melancholic.

Describe your signature style as a designer.
Detailed design with a touch of line patterns. I always give myself totally to the projects to give deep feeling and satisfaction to the clients.

Tell us about the house you grew up in.
It was an old house in Bandung, with terrazzo flooring and many trees in the garden. I grew up in this city and it let me enjoy peacefulness in life–the chill wind, the trees, the rain, the fresh air, the fog, the morning dew, the rays of sun, seeing animals. I was more in touch with nature. I wish I could have these these days.

Fave hotel?
Urban hotels like Morrisey and Kosenda.

Fave museum?
The National Museum, which is also my ongoing project.

Fave hang-outs?
I like coffee shops like Tanamera, Chickery Coffee Shop, Common Grounds and enjoying my own coffee corner.

Fave books?
Self-improvement books like “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, books made by my friends Tita Larasati, Pidibaiq and illustration books by Eugenia Gina, and biographies that I can share with my kids. Lately we’ve shared about Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Tan Malaka and Mohammad Hatta.

Fave bar?
Cloud Lounge, Pullman Thamrin’s The Back Room bar for its peacefulness and Motion Blue at Fairmont Jakarta when I’m feeling jazzy.

Fave vacation spot?
Peaceful places that allows spiritual journeys, like Wae Rebo and Bali, where we are balancing our energy with Mother Nature.

What would your dream house be like?
It doesn’t really matter how it would look, as long as it is located on a hill, is in touch with nature and is where I can hear the sound of water and see leaves everywhere.

What do you want to build for Jakarta if money was no object?
A proper design centre as in Taipei, Taiwan, where there are showcases and design hubs.

What’s your definition of sustainable design?
Designs that consider future generations, so the concept is relevant for a long time, and is built with long-lasting materials.

What does Jakarta need at the moment?
Transportation. People in Jakarta are mobile, but ironically we’re stuck at traffic all the time.

Wish for architecture in Indonesia?
Earn more appreciation and trust from the locals.

What’s your dream project?
Projects in foreign countries and a retirement home for my family.

What’s your favorite room in the house?
A living room with an easy chair and piano.

What’s the key for making a good home?
Be total. When you give your heart fully to a project, you will give the maximum effort, but not as a burden. You will do it with passion and with full energy. It will run smoothly.

Where is your favorite meeting place in town?
Coffee shops. I like petite-yet-masculine corners in town.

What course did you like most as a design student?
“Nirmana” with Rita Widagdo. At ITB, we don’t directly enter the design studio in our first year and study the basics otherwise. The first year includes fine arts and “Nirmana”, in which we will train our senses to see harmony, balance, framing and proportion in design. These are very useful to comprehend before we actually do a design. When you study interior design, it is not only about technique. It includes what kind of feeling you want to present and how to bring it about.

Which buildings in the world amaze you the most?
The ones in Wae Rebo, East Nusa Tenggara. Nothing beats their stunning architecture and interior spaces. As I currently have a museum project, I went to Europe to see some precedents. The ones that amazed me were the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam with its historical buildings and collections, silence, dimmed lights and a serious ambiance that let one focus on enjoying the contents and the space, followed by the post-modern Hergé Museum and the Art Nouveau-designed Belgian Comic Strip Centre in Brussels.

Tell us about your current project.
I’m designing a new interior for the old building at the National Museum. It’s currently getting conserved by Budi Sukada, so maybe in one or two years. Another museum project is at the medical faculty of the University of Indonesia. I also worked on the Soekarno-Hatta Terminal 3 Extension, Kupang airport, a coffee shop, several houses and apartment projects with my team.

Last cool purchase?
A Singer sewing machine. It can be used to make holes and other things. It is so cool-tried and tested.

What’s your current obsession?
Self-consciousness. It started last year. There was no such thing as a “turning point”. It was unplanned, like a calling. Since then I have become more aware of my strength, patience and a broader knowledge to fully understand myself. I will continue my design journeys to fill my mind and soul.

Find Rina on the web, on Facebook or on Instagram.

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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.

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