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Jakarta Post

Epilogue for an era: Groundbreaking bookstore Aksara Kemang closes its doors

  • Dylan Amirio


Jakarta   /   Sat, January 16 2021   /  01:00 am
The area where Aksara inhibited for 20 years sits empty for now, awaiting further renovation from building owners 3000 Group, who will maintain this space as a lively, community space going forward. (Dylan Amirio/Dylan Amirio)

The December 2020 closing of Aksara bookstore's first and main branch in Kemang marked the end of an era for a venue that had become very significant for the city’s creative types. A book and lifestyle haven for many, Aksara’s stylishly comfy Kemang branch was opened in 2001 by businessman and book aficionado Winfred Hutabarat, along with fellow businessman Davy Djohan and writer Laksmi Pamuntjak. Then in his early 30s, Hutabarat had just returned from his studies in the United States, inspired by the bookstores he saw there in which interaction between members of the creative communities played a key part in the business. “People saw bookstores as places where you only shopped for books,” he told Tempo magazine in 2001. “But they could be more than that.” It worked. Aksara became a “lifestyle” hub at a time when that term had ...