Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 23 April 2015 • Destination
Being a 90’s kid, I remember there was a trend of things industrial. I listened to Nine Inch Nails, an industrial rock band if you don’t know, and wished I lived in a warehouse turned a studio flat. These last few years the industrial trend seem to emerge back into trend in Indonesia (mainly Jakarta that I know of), in the form of interior design. Cafes, restaurants and stores, many of these are designed in a similar style, industrial. And now in Jakarta, there is Indoestri maker space with clean industrial feel.
From the name of it, I don’t know how it can be any more industrial. It’s called Indoestri (an old way of spelling industry in Indonesian language). It’s a factory building turned a co-working space for makers. The two-storey building consisted of workshops for metal, leather, wood, and textile works, as well as offices, meeting rooms, showrooms and studios for weekly classes.
They didn’t need to try hard to make the space looking industrial. On the contrary, it looked very clean compared to workshops that I have seen before in Indonesia. The whole ambiance feels a lot like those developed countries’ workshops I saw in Monocle magazine. Clean, stylish and masculine. I like it!
I was there to join a portrait drawing class, with Dika Toolkit as the teacher. I wasn’t familiar with his name, but he actually has had big gigs, naming one for Linkin Park. His sketching skill is unquestionable, but like a lot of artists, he had trouble delivering the verbal theory fluently. He had his pencil strokes finish the sentences, but he was open to every question from the class.
As the session was opened to anyone, participants had different levels of drawing experience and theory. They’re welcome to anyone who wants to learn a new skill or enhance it. The session wasn’t particularly eye-opening for me because I’ve learned the basics of portrait drawing long time ago in school and college, but it could be helpful to those who just started this particular genre. It’s been a long time since I last sketched a portrait, so it was a good exercise and a bit of nostalgia for me. It also reminded me why I haven’t been drawing portrait anymore; let’s just say that I find more joy in drawing other things.
The classroom could have been made more comfortable though, perhaps by arranging the tables in U shape. I’m not sure why they ditched the tables that were already in place, but perhaps Dika and the others have different preference.
Each participant was charged IDR500,000 for that particular drawing class, which included a sketchbook, a 2B pencil, a 330ml bottled water and a IDR50,000 worth of lunch meal. I thought it was quite expensive. Perhaps it would feel less expensive if they’d facilitate us with more pencils ranging from, say, H to 9B. Sorry for talking too technical. Now let’s go back to the space itself.
Indoestri maker space is surrounded by big buildings and a spacious parking lot. A small restaurant is located behind the building. I tried their dish with rice and fried chicken (forgot the name) and it was tasty. They did a nice touch with the wall plants, creating a bit of natural feel among the very industrial area.
As it’s super hot in the area, the ground floor of the main building and the restaurant is equipped with air conditioner, while the top floor, where most of the workshops are, is cooled with fans only. Classes of surface finishing and pottery were in progress when I visited the second floor. Though it was quite hot, the participants, and these are the ones who you’d find in AC-ed malls and buildings, seemed to be enjoying their time making things.
As Sisca, one of the staff, took me for a tour, she explained what the founder of Indoestri is trying to do with this whole space. Leonard Theosabrata is a product designer and businessman that had co-founded more well-known business, like the Goods Dept. concept store and its restaurants, and the much anticipated bazaar by upper class youth of Jakarta, Brightspot Market. He is all for any brand owner to firstly get their hands on the products before actually selling and making it a business. They don’t have to master the fabrication, though that wouldn’t hurt either, but at least really understand the process of product creation. I think that’s great, I pay a lot more respect to sellers or business(wo)men who really know what they’re selling.
Indoestri maker space might not be your regular tourist attraction – in fact, it’s not that at all. By featuring it here, I would just like to point out how diverse and unpredictable Jakarta could be. It’s a city overlooked by many, really ugly on the surface for the traffic jam, pollution and bad transportation system, but underneath there is creativity and good will that makes it lively and exciting. Much like the industrial maker space itself.