Domisilium Studio: A weakness for the eclectic

Santi Alaysius and Hamphrey Tedja of Domisilium Studio

Santi Alaysius and Hamphrey Tedja have made their names designing some of the hippest venues in Jakarta, from the Bar At The Rooftop (BART) at the Artotel Jakarta to the Kosenda Hotel, as well as GoJek’s new offices. The pair’s Domisilium Studio, founded in 2009, focuses on architecture and interior design for high-end residential, hospitality and retail spaces. Santi, 36, studied interior design at The Illinois Instutite of Art and Hamphrey, 39, studied architecture at The Illinois Institute of Technology. Having educated in the same city of Chicago, both of the principals met as professionals in 2006. They have projects in locations ranging from Singapore and Indonesia to Mexico and the US. Here’s what Design Dossier found out when opening its file on the pair.

Modena showroom

Influential architects or designers?

Santi Alaysius (SA): Santiago Calatrava.

Hamphrey Tedja (HT): I have an affinity for Yabu Pushelberg, the duo.

Fave place in Indonesia?

SA: Kota Tua, Jakarta. It has so many histories and new stories to be made in the future.

HT: Movida in Bali. Oozing sexuality... it’s that sexy!

How to make Jakarta a better place?

SA: Public transportations and better art museums.

HT: Water recycling programs, public transportation, infrastructure and pollution.

Define your personal style.

SA: Masculine colors and shapes with flamboyant accents.

HT: Simplistic borderline utilitarian.

Why get into the industry?

SA: I have a weakness for a visually pleasing environment.

HT: I wanted to be a doctor but can’t stand the sight of blood. I figured rubble and ruin would be the next best thing.


Describe your signature style.

SA: Structured lines with a twist of humor.

HT: Our signature style is pinned towards a more homey feeling, with eclecticism.

Tell us about the house you grew up in.

SA: I still live in the same house we moved into when I was five years old. It has evolved a lot since then. I must say, I have moved and renovated my bedroom five times over the course of 30 years. I love it a lot. It has great bones architecturally, which my own father designed and built himself and renovated with his own daughter eight years ago.

HT: The house I grew in is approximately 400 square metres on two floors with plenty of balconies and terraces on both floors. My dad had a good friend who was a landscaper and he created two different ponds for different aquatic animals. I remembered I was super fond of playing by the pond in the morning, dipping my feet in the water when I got up in the morning or feeding the fishes.

Fave city?

SA: Takayama, Japan.

HT: Second cities have been a favorite of mine — Chicago, Shanghai, Melbourne, Surabaya.

Fave hotel?

SA: The Waldorf Astoria in Chicago has a special place in my heart.

HT: Jeeva Beloam in Lombok, James Hotel and Public Hotel in Chicago

Fave museum?

SA: Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

HT: The Art Institute in Chicago, MoMA in New York City.

Fave resto?

SA: André in Singapore.

HT: Alinea in Chicago.

Fave book?

SA: Seven Days in The Art World(by Sarah Thornton), CAD Monkeys, Dinosaur Babies, and T-Shaped People(by Warren Berger).

HT: The quirky books of Tom Robbins.

Fave music?

SA: Nina Simone.

HT: Tapping my feet to Sinatra right now.

Fave park?

SA: Lincoln Park in Chicago.

HT: The parks in the US that have been largely influenced by Fredric Olmsted, like Central Park, the Chicago Waterfront–any large green area devoted to public recreation.

Vacation experience?

SA: Venice Art Bienalle 2013

HT: Lombok, when you start to notice how your breathing changes and slows down to a complete relaxation

Go-to app?

SA: Instagram

HT: Sketch by Autodesk

What’s your dream house like?

SA: Practical, with little nooks to hang out, full of artwork, close to the water and a great kitchen to entertain.

HT: A two-and-a-half storey townhouse with ample lighting around and a small gardening patch in front and back and a glass covered rooftop garden.

What to build for Jakarta if money was no object?

SA: A modern/contemporary art museum.

HT: Urban planning to allow more green public spaces around the city. Infrastructure that is up to par with the rest of the world. A water-treatment plant. In light of the Fukushima disaster, a more green energy source in lieu of nuclear or fossil fuels.

What is sustainable design for you?

SA: Something that is timeless, practical and makes so much sense for the end user.

HT: One of my college professors would scoff at that phrase. “If you can live off the grid and produce your own food, then that’s sustainable design”. It is being sensitive to design, so you leave less of a carbon footprint. It has to start with your mind-set and lifestyle as well.

Fave rooms in your house?

SA: Bathroom, bedroom and our backyard.

HT: My bedroom. It supports my favourite pastime (don’t get your mind in the gutter).

What’s the key to a good home?

SA: A super-comfortable mattress, soft bed sheets plus beautiful plumbing fixtures for the bathroom and a cat or two.

HT: Understanding the habits of the inhabitants.

What is the most important thing to know about architecture?

SA: Form follows function.

HT: Respect the architect since they do this as a full time profession.

Fave meeting place in town?

SA: Waha Kitchen at the Kosenda Hotel because it feels like home.

HT: I’m liking all these new indie coffee shops. One happened to open next to our office: Guten Morgen Coffee Lab. It’s that convenient.

Which buildings in the world have amazed you the most?

SA: The Milwaukee Art Museum because of its brise-soleil wings the shift according to the movement of the sun. HT: Any building or structure by Santiago Calatrava. It’s mind boggling how he came up with such concepts.

Tell us about your current project.

SA: Gojek’s new 7,000-square-metre headquarters in Jakarta will be inaugurated by our president this coming March. The aim was to design the most fun office to work at in Indonesia.

HT: We also have several hotels that are due to open this year or early next year. Artotel Jogjakarta is one of them. It is a project that lends itself to the local culture and yet has an international flair and a modern feel. It is young and exciting. It has been fun working with local artists to create that extra “uhmph” for the project.

What was your last cool purchase?

SA: A simple wooden side table from Takayama in Gifu perfecture, Japan which is famous for its expertise in carpentry.

HT: A lamp designed by the late Zaha Hadid.

Your current obssessions?

SA: Essential oils and gardening.

HT: Trying to be healthier with daily exercise, be it swimming or “gyming”. I’m not trying to have a six pack, but just generally a better sense of self-being.

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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.