How do you describe yourself?
I am an architect and art lover. I consider myself as a creative person. I don’t want to categorize myself because I want to explore my creativity and capability. I am very proud being an architect but I feel like I have to make myself bigger than that.
How do you channel your artistic passion?
I do a lot of art installations as well as writing poems and essays.
How do you realised your passion in art and how does it influence your architectural works?
I visited this gallery in Bali and I saw the paintings there and my heart started to beat so fast, I feel like I have to have them. From there, I started collecting arts. Arts influence my architecture design and helps me think in different ways. But technical side is very important as well.
How do you feel when you receive a project that restricts your freedom to design?
For me, it’s a challenge. I ask myself, ‘How can I be creative with all these restrictions?’ When I have these rules to follow but still come up with my own creative ideas, I will feel happy seeing the result.
At the same time, if I truly want to unleash my creativity, I do many art installations that allow me the freedom to do so.
Which project of yours do you feel the most proud of?
It’s difficult because I have so many projects that I am proud of. It’s like asking me to choose which children I love the most. I always put my heart and soul into every project that I do so even though results may be different, I love all of them.
You mentioned that your design philosophy is Promenade de architektura. Can you tell us a bit about that?
I admire Le Corbusier when I was young because he always said that promenade de architektura is important. It’s a concept that talks about architecture as a soul. The experience that you get through the space is important for me. I always want to create a space with a soul. Architecture design is like human, when the soul is good, whatever comes out will be good.
Can you tell us more on your creative process and how do you stay inspired?
I like to travel so that I can observe human beings. I like to walk in the narrow alley and observed how the people live there in order to find out what people need. Nature also gives me many inspirations as well. After gathering some inspirations, I will go back to my office, start sketching and then talk to my team to let them help translate my idea into drawing.
Aside from Le Corbusier, is there any mentor or inspirational figure that you admire the most?
I think Zara Hadid is an inspirational figure that I admire. Reason being is that her continuous effort in creating mind-blowing designs despite technological limitation at her time shows me that perseverance is a very important skill that not everyone possessed. And once technology can answer her needs, all of a sudden her design is all over the world and she finally get to enjoy the fruits of her hard work.
How do you motivate young people?
I always share Paralympic videos when I need to give motivational speech at middle school or universities because I want to show them how these people, who have limitations, have the drive to accomplish amazing things. So during hard times, I don’t want the young people to see it negatively. I believe life is like a piece of paper that has two sides. One side might be filled with scribbles but the other side is still blank. So don’t focus on the scribbled page but go to the other side, which is still blank and full of opportunities.
What books or movies inspire you the most?
One book that inspires me is about the wife of Sudjojono (S.Sudjojono, often recognised as the father of Indonesian painting). Her name is Mia Bustam and I admire how she tried to survive after her divorce with Sudjojono. For movies, I like movies from Almodovar (Pedro Almodovar, Spanish film director) because he often made unusual yet amazing movies.
You had several projects in Singapore, Indonesia and India. What striking differences do you see between those three countries?
All of them are definitely different and reason being is that when I design, it’s all about the human aspect. Singapore is very compact and they prefer to eat outside. For them, car is very important where in Indonesia, home is more important. Indonesians love to invite people to their house and have gatherings, which is similar to India. But in India, you often find three generations living under the same roof. So they have to make bigger kitchen as well as living room to accommodate all the family members.
What milestone do you wish to achieve as an architect?
I would like to bring Indonesian architects on to the international platform. When people remember me, I want them to remember me as someone who brings the architecture industry in Indonesia to the international level. I would like to have a school as well because education will change people.