One of Indonesia’s most prominent architects, Popo Danes, is passionate about harmony between culture and art. This Balinese architect earned his reputation as the most influential architect in enriching Balinese contemporary architecture even prior to earning his first university degree.
At his own studio “Popo Danes Architect”, designed in an ambience to accommodate all creative activities for architects, Popo never objects sharing his vast knowledge and philosophy. His embedded knowledge and local wisdom are shown in his expertise in building tropical habitations.
Popo thinks future maintenance of each building is vital for consideration. His own concept applies to the same studio, a house his father built in 1969, where today, 90 per cent of the building is still original.
Popo Danes continues to challenge the world of contemporary architecture but his generosity in sharing knowledge can be seen in his recently published book “New Regionalism in Bali Architecture”. In 2004 and 2008 he won the first prize for the ASEAN Energy Award for the category of Topical Building Construction Design Indonesia, and he won Indonesia’s Construction Design in 2003 and 2009.
Your practice is in Bali, would you say that there are distinctive regional differences in design?
As a Bali-based architect, I’m happy that I have the opportunity to combine culture, lifestyle and the premium standard of hospitality requirements. In this way, we can come up with such a formula which can also be implemented in some other countries with a similar situation. It also gives us an opportunity to learn about other cultures. This is really fascinating.
What are some of the properties you have designed that you are most proud of?
I am so proud with some of the properties I have designed in some other parts of Indonesia. I am designing a luxury resort and marina on an island in Singapore, one completely new luxury resort in West Sumba, and some others will come soon. I am so happy to be able to contribute some colours to Indonesian architecture.
Who are your favourite Indonesian architects, and why?
I like architects who dedicate themselves to enriching the whole setting of Indonesian architecture and planning. A personality like Yori Antar, with his Rumah Asuh programme, could be one of the best examples in preserving the cultural architecture of the country. I also admire some of our friends who are making contributions as mayors, such as Ridwan Kamil in Bandung and Dany Pomanto in Makassar.
Do you think that designs in Indonesia are becoming more sustainable?
Yes and no. There is some intention to do it in a greener way, but then again there are people who ignore the concern and just focus on luxury and spending.
There seems to be less emphasis on following traditional cultural designs. Is this a tragedy or just a natural evolution? What can be done to preserve these styles?
It’s a matter of pride. Some Indonesian people still think that the modern, Western way is better, and they are so proud of it. We have to show good appreciation for some best practices in the cultural implementation of Indonesian architecture design.
Bali used to have a local by-law that makes Balinese elements compulsory in every building. That seems to have been not enforced. What are your thoughts?
The regulation needs to be elaborated to make it clearer. We have to conduct it with detailed building codes which cover all aspects of building regulation. Most importantly, we also have to establish respect for legal enforcement, especially for the building zoning.
Overall is Indonesia heading in the right direction?
I don’t think so. I’m so sorry to say this. We have to put our visionary master plan at all levels first. It must cover the planning, economic, ecological aspects and all other related matters.
This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine March 2018 issue “Design for Living”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.