As many of you may know, I had the immense pleasure of traveling to Indonesia last month, accompanied by my mother. The scenery was of course breathtaking. Traveling to different islands and being immersed in the remarkably friendly, hospitable, and wonderful people of Indonesia was nothing short of an absolute highlight in my life. Outside of being fascinated with all of the breathtaking and handcrafted items the locals had to offer, it was also an incredible opportunity to become mesmerized by the native architecture.
For a designer, it’s an incredible experience to surround myself in another culture, especially one so vibrant with history and spirituality centuries old; one that has perfected traditional methods of beauty and craftsmanship passed down through generations. I quickly became fascinated with the way the people spent their time and where/how they spent it.
(Ubud – seen used as a workshop and a dining hall )
The indoor-outdoor connection of these structures is undeniable and is something that has always resonated with me. We at kim nadel interiors use the indoor/outdoor connection in every one of our projects, varying depending on each region we’re working in and materials appropriate for each climate. Simple moves like retractable accordion doors that open a living room up into the back patio is one of my favorite ways to do this. It has always been my passion and goal to reduce our impact on the planet and to assist its sustainability by connecting spaces with the earth. Connecting communities by using local materials, craftsmanship, artists, etc. has been only one small part of my career as a green designer, and seeing this implemented in such a traditional and genuinely cultural way in Bali was breathtaking.
If you aren’t aware, Indonesia is extremely hot, with 75% humidity! This means building structures that allow for shade and breeze is vital. The native people use shelters they call ‘bale benbong’, which are raised off the ground to provide cooling, natural ventilation and respite from the warm rains. They are mostly open, en plein air, with slated wood roof shelters, very much like the Bali Bed we have here at 119 Studio. Because the villages are so physically connected to the surrounding environment, building without imposing upon the lush scenery can be a challenge.
John Hardy, a fellow Canadian and pioneer of sustainable luxury, has made his conscious commitment to doing just this in Bali. Hardy is well known for his exquisite jewelry, which exemplifies sustainable luxury with the use of reclaimed metals and ethical stone sources.
Although he has sold his brand, he is now instead dedicating his time to encouraging the Bali communities to build with bamboo using traditional Balinese methods for schools and villages. Not only does this material grow back quickly, but it is the most reliable Balinese resource as it is so environmentally low-impacting. He believes in craftsmanship and giving back to his community and has dedicated his life to creating traditional structures out of a newly popular material, while finding a means to saving the stunning scenery that Bali is so well known for.
(John Hardy surrounded by Balinese bamboo)
My fascination and attraction to Bali and its beauty and traditional methods of art and craftsmanship is so aligned with that of John Hardy’s. It is also what I believe for kim nadel interiors. It’s about beauty & aesthetics, but more importantly integrity and reducing impact on the planet.