At first, I didn’t have any family member or relatives related to the architecture world. As an architect, I started everything from zero,” says Novriansyah Yakub, better known as Riri, when Indonesia Tatler Homes meets this young architect at Artotel in Menteng. His interest in art and creativity, which started when he was only a boy, evolved into a passion for architecture. 

“Actually, I love any kind of art,” he says. “I love graphics, interiors, beautiful homes… But I think architecture is what suits me best. I’ve always admired freedom in art, but I also think that function is equally important.” 

Riri also believes that his sense of art and logic was inherited from his parents, because his mother worked in the art industry, but his father was an accountant. In 1998, Riri decided to study architecture in Pancasila University. A year after he graduated in 2004, he continued his studies at Trisakti University. It was then that Riri realised that architecture is his life’s purpose, and an industry in which he can both work hard and play hard. Here, he explains all about his life and work in detail.


Indonesia Tatler Homes (ITH): So you became an architect after you graduated? 

Novriansyah Yakub (NY): After I graduated, I worked in the media industry as a consultant to the Kompas Group. While working there, I realised how much fun architecture is. It gave me a lot of precious experiences, like how to communicate effectively, and I also met a lot of architects and experts in the design industry. So I gravitated towards architecture and, after five years, I finally decided to start a career as an architect.


ITH: Can you tell us about your job when you worked as a media consultant?

NY: Basically, I consulted with people through the media. At the same time, I also saw a big demand for design projects, so while there, I worked on maybe eight design projects.

ITH: Tell us about the beginning of Atelier Riri.

NY: It was 2010 and I started from nothing. Since it was founded, I decided that Atelier Riri should work with style. This philosophy was imbued into every project we handled. Now, we have seen a lot of success in our own market—we started to build relationships with our clients and to show design consistency. So now, every time we work on a project, we always start with our own identity. 


ITH: What are the biggest challenges that you faced when you started your own company?

NY: Atelier Riri was founded in 2010; it means Riri’s studio. Since I had worked at a well-known media company, I knew a lot about how to start a company, and I put this knowledge into practice with Atelier Riri. When the company started, we started with just me and my architect colleague as a freelancer, and now we have 12 team members. So, as we enter our fifth year of contributing to architecture and design, we have a bigger vision to impact the local design industry with more large-scale projects, such as real estate developments, offices, and more.


ITH: Describe Atelier Riri’s style.

NY: Innovative and contextual.


ITH: How about the evolution of your work since you started up until now?

NY: I used to work on everything by myself, but now I always share responsibilities with my team members. Even though Atelier Riri means Riri’s studio, the people who are part of it should be able to develop themselves.


ITH: Where do you usually get inspiration from?

NY: I can’t tell when it’s worktime and when it’s playtime. I never think of architecture as my job. When I’m looking for inspiration, I enjoy a relaxing break to refresh my mind. Working on vacation always work for me. 


ITH: Which project has brought you the most satisfaction?

NY: Mostly my first projects. One of them was a small office in Solo, and when the project started, both me and the client had no idea about how to make an office. But as we became friends, we explored many ideas. It was fun. Without thinking how complex the project was, instead we just had fun.


ITH: What would be your dream project?

NY: The craziest idea would be to design an urban plan to rehabilitate Jakarta as a healthy city. Rather than a building project that has a “micro” impact, we’d design a productive city that would allow other buildings to function.


ITH: What is the best moment in your life as an architect?

NY: So many miraculous moments have happened in my life as an architect. For me, architecture is fun and it’s a big part of my life. I didn’t think there would be so much appreciation for my work.


ITH: Can you imagine yourself not being an architect?

NY: Maybe I’d be an indie pop band member. I’ve always loved music—it creates our mood.


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