Early last week I went to meet up with an former colleague from a past life in Singapore, Realrich. I’d been keeping track of his steps over the years from afar but I hadn’t seen him quite some time. In that time Realrich has been busy creating a name for himself as a serious up and comer in the Indonesian architectural scene. He’ll deny it, but every Indonesian architect I come across knows him, has worked with him or taught by him.
His studio is a sight to behold, designed and built by his team at DOT (Design Oriented Territory Workshop) and DPW (Design Perfection Workshop) the team work in a converted garage. To make use of every available piece of space, the team work in a very tightly organised space. “This is the office” I’m told, “now look up – and back there” My first shock is how many people they have packed into a tiny space, then I look up, I look behind me. there’s people everywhere! A single long desk space packed with computers, workers and files adorns the side wall. Then above another level of staff. 12 staff in a 10m x 3m room!
The office has been equipped with ideas chalkboards, games, playstation, guitars, food and concept models by the bucketful. Everything a high intensity design environment needs. But what makes this office particularly special is the level of experimental architecture they are willing and able to undertake.
The DOT studio and the Design Perfection workshop(DPW) work hand in hand, one informs the other and is a key part to the high level of design DOT can offer to the people that entrust them to create their dream home or economic future.
The DPW is also home to the staff that run the workshop and their family. Having a workshop allows for the exploration of design ideas. Using discarded building materials Realrich has been able to explore design ideas while creating living spaces for his workers. The workshop also helps in achieving the desired design outcomes he’s pushing for in his work. If a builder refuses or can’t achieve the level of detail required in a project he and his team attack the challenge head on and create doors, windows, joinery and pretty much anything required to get the job done right.
Having grown up in an artisan culture where if you didn’t have something you created it. I find myself extremely envious of what Realrich has managed to achieve in forming his business. For a number of years this same studio model has been something I have dreamt of pursuing, however that is a path I have yet to walk, I’m just lucky I’ve got friends to learn from.