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Indonesia’s mushroom watches, concrete furniture aim to conquer European market

Asmara Wreksono
Asmara Wreksono

The Jakarta Post

Paris  /  Mon, September 9, 2019  /  11:00 am
Indonesia’s mushroom watches, concrete furniture aim to conquer European market

PALA Nusantara offers vegan-friendly watches made from mycelium (the root structure of mushrooms). (JP/Asmara Wreksono)

At a glance, PALA Nusantara’s watches may come across as edgy fashion products with strong Japanese aesthetics. The minimalist and clean look of the designs are not the only features offered, as the watches are also claimed to be eco-friendly. 

“We do claim our products as the first eco-friendly watch in the world because aside from its machine, the materials are very environmentally friendly and can be naturally decomposed,” said Ashni Sastrosubroto of PALA Nusantara. 

As one of the 24 Indonesian brands selected to showcase their works in the 2019 Maison&Objet exhibition under the IDentities initiative by the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf), PALA Nusantara brings its newest exotic watch series to display: PALAxMylea. With straps made from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, the watch offers a vegan-friendly alternative to regular watches. 

Read also: Contemporary Indonesian design displayed at Maison&Objet 2019

The brand has participated in several international trade shows and its debut in Maison&Objet is its first foray into the European market. “In Indonesia you can find us at select stores such as dia.lo.gue, Museum Macan, Alun-Alun Indonesia, stores that we deem sophisticated. Our local market is not optimized yet, but we are confident that the demand is already high,” Ashni added. 

On the furniture front, Conture Concrete Lab showcases modern home furnishings with a tasteful approach to the humble yet dependable concrete material. 

Conture Concrete Lab's tableware collection. Conture Concrete Lab's tableware collection. (JP/Asmara Wreksono)

“By participating in Maison&Objet, we are creating awareness for our brand. What we are doing is serious and we are also here for other opportunities outside Indonesia,” Febrian Tricahyo of Conture Concrete Lab explained. 

Nine years into the business, Conture Concrete Lab has built a solid rapport with design enthusiasts, convincing homeowners that the material normally used for structural purposes is also good for home decoration. As a fun gimmick to complete their tableware collection, the brand also introduced a unique snack, biskuit beton (concrete cookies), which are really peanut cookies with charcoal and shaped like concrete pieces. 

Conture Concrete Lab introduces a fun gimmick: Concrete cookies to go with its concrete tableware collection.Conture Concrete Lab introduces a fun gimmick: Concrete cookies to go with its concrete tableware collection. (JP/Asmara Wreksono)

A popular home decor ceramics brand, Kandura Studio, also made Bekraf’s list of design brands showcasing their work in the trade show. “Kandura Studio is a design company where we derive our tableware designs from Indonesian narratives. This collection is derived from the narrative of single-origin coffee, which we made into coffee sets and small plates,” Fauzy Kamal Prasetya of Kandura Studio told The Jakarta Post on Friday. 

Kandura Studio's coffee-inspired tableware collection.Kandura Studio's coffee-inspired tableware collection. (JP/Asmara Wreksono)

Fauzy’s excitement about his brand’s involvement in the Maison&Objet is more than just for business reasons. “Marketing-wise, it’s a very good opportunity. We get to meet global buyers, manufacturers and designers who we can get inspiration from. We also meet distributors, marketers who give us input on how to market our products, how to sell and what to develop next.”

Aurora Rintya of UMA Design is also excited to be shortlisted in Bekraf’s 24 designers exhibiting their work in Maison&Objet. Her company produces home decor designs that use resin and metal as the main materials, resulting in a mix of elegant and whimsical elements. 

“I have dreamed to come here since 2015, so when it was announced that I made the list, I was very happy,” Aurora said. 

UMA Designs presents whimsical marbled-pattern resin and metal home decor elements.UMA Designs presents whimsical marbled-pattern resin and metal home decor elements. (JP/Asmara Wreksono)

UMA Design offers two collections: The first is entitled Space Odyssey, which features marble-patterned resin elements combined with metal accents. The second collection is entitled Stars, which features galaxy-like details in the resin elements, also combined with metal accents. 

“We want to expand our market because so far we only market locally. With our involvement in Maison&Objet, we hope to reach international markets. France is the exact market we target,” she added. 

The 24 brands and designers participating in the international design fair include Aievl, Alfath Kurniadi, Bermock, Budi Pradono, Bika, Conture, Djalin, Du’anyam, Dua Lighting, Juno Home, Kandura Studio, Kayou, Keratons, Moire Rugs, Nouvwerks, Pala Nusantara, Rattan of Indonesia, Roa, Spedagi, Siji, Super Rattan, Threadapeutic, UMA Design and Vivere. Their collections are on display from Sept. 6 to 10 at the 2019 Maison&Objet trade show, Hall 5A, at the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte in Paris, France.