Redefining Sujiva Living


Sujiva Living, meaning ‘comfortable life’ in Sanskrit, took its inspiration from Balinese architectural wisdom. This family home in Bali embraces communal spaces but, at the same time, also manages to foster a sense of privacy through some unique design twists.

Photos by Mario Wibowo

Taking inspiration from Balinese feng shui, Asta Kosala Kosali, local architects Somia Design Studio have taken the essence of traditional Balinese architectural principles and applied a contemporary slant to create Sujiva Living. The two-storey building was designed to establish a harmonious union between public and private zones encouraging occupants to embrace a versatile environment.

Behind the project is a three-strong team of architects who were given the task of creating a comfortable and functional living space. Designing for a family while establishing flexible working spaces for the owners were the main aims, Somia Design said, adding that the owners are a couple with successful backgrounds in architecture and customer service. The design also responded to the tropical climate by selecting building materials that would be efficient for long-term maintenance without compromising the aesthetics.

The aim of the project was to reconfigure a traditional Balinese house based on the Hindu philosophy of Nawa Sangha: defined as the nine cardinal directions around the centre point of Shiva, one of the Hindu gods. Transforming the building to meet the owner’s objectives required careful thought and some specific design twists to make best use of the site.

Coming through the entrance gate, you are greeted by a contrasting ambience between the raw masculine exterior and the green tropical landscape. The public zones of the house are divided into three main parts: a studio with a small meeting room, a terrace and a courtyard. The studio and meeting room, located on the second floor, are dedicated spaces for the owner’s architecture firm that can host up to eight people. From the meeting room, a large floor-to-ceiling picture window provides a view to the garden and the deck area below.

On the first floor, a terrace provides a spacious seating area and there is also a wooden-decked courtyard where people can sit out. Somia Design then introduced a surprise element, by incorporating a 2.85x2.85 metre centre-pivot door into one of the exterior walls. When you push the door open you are met with a contemporary tropical landscape as you look out onto the courtyard and the garden.

From the garden, you can appreciate the main design elements of the building, with exposed cement balancing out Sujiva’s black and red brick features. The timber deck, with a floating concrete bench, faces the glass-enclosed living room and acts as an open communal area for the family.

The living room adjoins the dining area, in which the beauty of the local materials is palpable. “Exposed red brick creates a pleasant mood for the occupants,” said Somia Design, “adding to the variation of stack bond brick compositions.” Other private areas, including the master bedroom, master bathroom, and two common bedrooms repeat the theme with similar exposed brick walls.

Next to the grass-covered steps is the master bedroom. Located on the east facing side of the building the design allows natural light to flood in. Another two bedrooms are also available for family guests on the second floor with a compact lounge area that also doubles up as a gathering space for children.

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Banyubening Prieta
Banyu has been a contributing writer to The Jakarta Post, Sorge Magazine and Metronome Indonesia after graduating from Parahyangan Catholic University with a degree in international relations. She is the owner and co-founder of the Jakarta-based organic restaurant and healthy catering business Burgreens and the co-founder of Suazad Media.