Bintaro Design District 2019: Design for Everyone
Collaboration is a sexy word nowadays. In a world that’s fast-changing and where so many things have been done, it is important to consider a collaboration to create something new, something better and, perhaps, bigger. Architects Andra Matin (andramatin), Budi Pradono (Budi Pradono Architects, BPA), Danny Wicaksono (Studio Dasar) and graphic designer Hermawan Tanzil (Leboye) teamed up and celebrated the importance of interdisciplinary designs by initiating an annual event, Bintaro Design District.
It all started from a talk over coffee on an autumn night in London. Andra and Budi were visiting London Design Biennale 2016, where Hermawan and Danny were appointed to be curators. They hung out after the event and discussed a lot of things. One of them was how concerned they were about Indonesia not having any design festivals amidst the huge potential that it had.
Fast forward to 2018, the four initiators-slash-curators launched the first Bintaro Design District (BDD). They chose Bintaro because based on Budi’s research, there are so many design and architecture firms located in Bintaro. And the area is not too big if they were to do it in Jakarta. “That being said, we are actually open to any participant from outside of Bintaro and we hope one day there will be many international participants too,” Hermawan, who resides and whose office is in South Jakarta, explained.
On 28 November to 7 December 2019, the second BDD took place. It had 98 participants, roughly twice the number from the previous year. “We’re happy but at the same time we had to work harder for coordination, curation, installation and placement, we even had to make sure that the mobility of visitors didn’t cause traffic jams again,” Budi explained. Gathering the designers was easy, but it’s the briefing of the concept that was a bit challenging, because not all of them have been to events alike.
The theme was “Inclusivity”. The objective is for people, from all walks of life, to have a better understanding design and to experience the benefits of design. Many have surely heard of and known what design is, but not everyone has actually given much thought to it or been touched by it. “So by having this theme, we encouraged designers and architects to create something more inclusive to everyone. And something that’s not commissioned by clients like what they normally do,” said Hermawan.
The theme was translated into a few things, from the logo to the placement of installations. The logo of BDD used braille letters, which reads, you guessed it, BDD. The committee encouraged participants to create something that benefits others too. Footloose Initiative created Plépah, a replacement for Styrofoam takeaway boxes. Their boxes and party plates are made of areca palm midrib, which is more environmentally friendly. And the exhibition was done in a busy market in Bintaro, collaborating with Parti Gastronomi.
“I made a 1 km challenge,” said Budi. “It’s where the participants are encouraged to design something near them, in a 1 km radius. For example, andramatin renovated a chicken noodle stall where their staff and his family are regulars, into a more modern and clean looking stall. Whereas BPA revamped a 24-hour green bean porridge stall and a security post near our office,” he added.
There are numerous public parks in Bintaro. Some installations were placed there for anyone to observe, enjoy and interact with. “Genang” by Adria Yurike Architects and “String Composition Serie 6” by BIROE are two examples that grabbed the attention of passersby. The support from Jaya Property, the developer of Bintaro Jaya, made the placement process really smooth. “The theme was translated into various things by the designers and that’s what we wanted. And we liked how people reacted to it because these exhibitions gave them different information and understanding towards the word inclusivity,” Danny said. Some visitors didn’t even realise about the existence of the parks before, even though they live in Bintaro. But with these installations, they came, played, and enjoyed the public facility that was there all along. They actually felt the benefits of design.
BDD 2019 didn’t limit their events only to Bintaro. There were two lateral events in Jakarta – “Prihal”, the andramatin exhibition in the National Gallery of Indonesia, and “Seek A Seek #2”, a graphic design exhibition in Dia.Lo.Gue. Although the event in Bintaro predominantly exhibited architectural designs, the number of architects was only a little more than the graphic designers who exhibited in “Seek A Seek #2”. “One of these graphic design firms, Antikode, was the one who designed the BDD mobile application,” said Hermawan. They also had Museum MACAN and M Bloc as partner venues in Jakarta. Other than exhibitions, BDD 2019 also had a lot of discussions, workshops, open studio and film screening.
BDD is not an easy event, for sure. But with the spirit of collaboration, it happened twice already, and surely there will be more to come. “The rate of success was way more than 50 per cent, I’m certain of that. We probably need to do it two or three more times to achieve our goals. However, success cannot be viewed only from the designer’s point of view, but whether or not the people can comprehend the designs,” Andra said. “I wish for someday we can be like the Japanese or Scandinavians, where everyone is aware of design. I’m sure we will get there, what with the internet and social media being so easy to access. Information can spread very fast,” he added.
As for the next BDD, they are still brewing the concept and there is no fixed date just yet. The theme will be “Sharing Future” and it’s exciting to see how the participants will interpret that. But no matter what the theme is, the spirit of collaboration, openness and sharing are the most important things in this event.