The Jakarta Post
Twenty-four Indonesian brands and designers under the IDentities initiative by the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) displayed their best works at the Indonesian Pavilion in Hall 5A, Parc des Expositions de Villepinte at the 2019 Maison&Objet trade show in Paris. The interior and product design trade show runs from Sept. 6 to 10.
Indonesian Ambassador to France Arrmanatha C. Nasir welcomed visitors at an opening ceremony. “This is the first time that Indonesia came in with 24 designers under one pavilion, [where] it’s usually individual designers. They have managed to present a small taste – I emphasize, a very small taste – of Indonesia’s creativity and innovativeness,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
The products displayed at the Indonesian pavilion are meticulously curated by renowned designer and former Indonesian Interior Designer Association (HDII) chairman Francis Surjaseputra.
“We wanted to highlight tropical-style designs, so that was the main direction for the brands that are participating. We also looked for high-quality handmade products, because we want to emphasize craftspeople and artisans as the industrial power of Indonesia,” he elaborated.
“The selected products displayed here are contemporary and relevant, while also bringing an Indonesian touch to accommodate the European market taste,” Francis added.
Among the home decor products displayed in the pavilion, a bicycle with a bamboo frame stole visitors’ attention. The bicycle, designed by Singgih Kartono, is the result of the Back to the Village movement.
“Singgih believes that a strong country must have strong villages; therefore, he created the movement. He went back to his village and trained the villagers to create high-quality products like this bicycle [which] retails for 860 euros (US$957),” he explained.
Although there are some standard participation requirements, according to Francis, each brand has its own criterions. “There are brands with a very strong production aspect, and there are others [produced in small numbers] but with a strong social impact,” he said, citing Threadapeutic tapestries as an example of the latter, with one tapestry taking up to a month to create but the use of scrap fabric having a positive social and environmental impact.
Joshua Simanjuntak, deputy of sales at Bekraf, stressed the importance of each product’s readiness to be marketed internationally. “Every product displayed here in the pavilion is ready for export. Through Maison&Objet, we can find buyers in the mid- to high-end segment. These are the [buyers] that appreciate design,” he said.
According to Joshua, most European buyers were interested in products that had their own stories, not just a commodity. “Indonesia’s strength is its diversity, as this is the root of our designs. The products here are presented in modern styles that have global appeal.”
The Embassy of Indonesia in France is committed to promoting Indonesian designers and talents through continued collaboration with Bekraf.
“We have a number of [collaborative projects] with Bekraf; this is one example. We will be doing one more program next year, where we will have a pop-up store in one of the most creative stores in Paris. There will be actual marketplace trading, and these are the kind of products that will be featured,” Arrmanatha said.
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