​​John Chang's Convenient Cage

Photography By Gede Geni

Taking the Sanskrit words “tira”, which means land, and “vilagna” that translates as cage, John Chang shared with Indonesia Design how he incorporated the two aforementioned words into an idea of creating a tranquil atmosphere for guests seeking to blend with nature in the convenience of a resort retreat.

John Chang

How did you come up with naming your resort Tira Vilagna?
I was fascinated with the concept of kurungan or cage. A simple design with a very deep philosophy behind it. We are all living in a kurungan. Referring to our home, our family, our community and so on. Our brain is also protected by a kurungan – the skull. Part of the island use cages to raise chickens and for sabung ayam [cockfight]. Given Bali is the location of the resort, I thought of the idea, ‘why not use a traditional Balinese word?’ As Hinduism is very strong in Balinese people’s everyday life, I then looked for the Sanskrit words and found the word vilagna, which means cage. That struck me. I didn’t want to have a generic name for my resort, so I added the word tira, which means land. Putting the two words together is the phrase “come ashore e.g. come ashore, enjoy your stay”.

Why did you choose “Joglo” style house?
Joglo house is a timber house and is a natural product. This place is surrounded by a forest and I want to sustain its nature as well as preserve the heritage value of pre-loved joglo homes. To make the most efficient use of land, I did some modifications. The traditional Joglo house is a one-storey building. Here in Tira Vilagna, the Joglo villas have two and three levels.

Can we say the Javanese Joglo architectural style is the resort’s design highlight?
Our Joglo style houses are what characterise Tira Vilagna. In presenting a sustainability development, the Joglo is showing the preserved characteristic of vernacular architecture from Majapahit empire in the 12th century, but tangibly speaking, the amphitheatre is the design highlight here.

How do you define the theme of the design in the resort?
Kurungan” (cage). We want guests to feel freedom yet also creating a sense of being inside a cage. Let’s translate it as a convenient cage. Even in the bathroom, there’s an ode to “kurungan”, in the shape of the shower.

That’s the theme of the resort. Speaking of design, it didn’t come all at once. The design came in an organic way following the terrain of the site. One at a time, every aspect, the inside and outside of the buildings including stairs and retaining walls

Has the resort’s operation been affected due to the pandemic?
Well, the good thing is we didn’t have to shut down [the operation during pandemic]. So, I say we have done well.

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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.
Gede Geni