The Jakarta Post
One of the woven bags crafted by Masulin Lim. (Courtesy of Masulin Lim/File)
In ateliers and studios throughout the archipelago, a host of talents have been conceptualizing works that have earned Indonesia a place on the larger stage of global fashion. J+ by The Jakarta Post wanted to tell these stories by interviewing some designers and by showcasing their collections, which offer contemporary and modern takes on some traditional Indonesian ideas, motifs and techniques.
Our first profile was of fashion designer Monique Soeriaatmadja. Now we focus on the master weaver and entrepreneur Masulin Lim.
As the founder of the world’s first weaving technology company, Masulin Lim is an innovator and entrepreneur with a thirst for creativity. His architectural weaving works, produced under the brand BYO Living, have been featured in many locations, from Jakarta to the Seychelles. Earlier this year, his weaving graced the Indonesia Pavilion at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. He also sits on the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s architecture and design committee. Masulin, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2002 with an economics degree, talked to J+ by The Jakarta Post on why he believes the key to the future lies in weaving.
How does weaving contribute to a shared future?
Weaving is multidisciplinary. In terms of exploration, it can span urban design, architecture and interior to product design, art, graphic design, fashion, etc.... Weaving is also there to facilitate the poorest or those left behind to reach the highest level of society. It can help solve poverty issues, climate change, energy efficiency, plastic waste and upcycling.
An example of Masulin Lim’s architectural weaving solutions. (Courtesy of Masulin Lim/File)
Tell us about some of your architectural weaving work.
There’s this project we did for a telecommunication provider, which required a skin solution to reduce the heat coming into their building. I was inspired by gedek [woven bamboo] houses, which utilize weaving techniques to block the sunlight and [also] heat and ventilate the surroundings with cooler air. We developed a new building skin with material from recycled plastic waste, created a proper paneling frame from aluminium, employed local residents and installed it on the surface of a mid-high-rise building designed by a knowledgeable architectural studio. It was the first time ever in the world to weave a building solution from upcycled plastic waste.
How about weaving and fashion?
Ten years ago, we built a team of talented bag makers and master weavers to create a new design language for bags. We formulated new recyclable materials that were lightweight, rich in texture and colorful, yet weather proof. We also developed fashionable weaving techniques from ikat patterns, ethnic crafts or global art movements such as 1960s optical illusions and Bauhaus. Not only [are the results] fashionable, they’re also responsible socially and environmentally. By now, we have a solid network of fashion influencers working together with the brand to develop new design ideas.
Who are your design icons and why?
God the creator. We keep wondering how the universe and nature work marvelously. The mechanics, the beauty, the motivation, the mystery is a timeless work of wonder. How does it relate to dwellers such as humans and animals? It all works like a beautiful orchestra.
What inspires you?
Simple kindnesses that make a better world.
What disturbs you?
Bad design. The environmental destruction and climate change done by the whole world’s population disturb me as well. Bad execution also bothers me.
What are some current design trends that are emerging internationally?
[Those with] environmental and social impact, the sharing economy, artificial intelligence, advanced human capacity, building information modeling, glocality [global and local savvy] and deep craftsmanship.
Masulin Lim (Courtesy of Masulin Lim/File)
Do you see green technology becoming mainstream in Indonesia?
Yes, thanks to the abundance of natural resources, demographic bonuses, the roots of our culture and how they’ve been projected onto our future capability. An efficient, affordable and practical green technology would be a game changer locally and globally.
What are your career goals?
To help others to reach the fullest of their potential.
What’s in store for BYO Living?
We’re working on computerized fabrication of a 20,000-square-meter area to enhance its environment-friendly capability. We are also developing a new material technology from nature that’s lightweight, structural, waterproof and bug-free, and a new language of craftsmanship for process technology that builds up at incremental speed and offers extraordinary energy saving through artificial intelligence. Other on going research is on polymorphic bendable weaving to create a modular environment or space for disaster relief and unreachable areas or buildings.
This article was originally published in the Apr. 2018 edition of J+ by The Jakarta Post with the headline "Weaving Wonders: Masulin Lim".