These high-flying enterprises are, for the most part, run by the most recent influx of island dwellers. BALI DESIGN HOUSE STYLES They arrived on the eve of the new millennium when Bali, contrary to the rest of Indonesia, was experiencing an economic boom; t rue to form, they are more likely to be seen speaking urgently into a hand phone than swaying somnolently on a hammock in the hills. And, of course, these movers and shakers subscribe to the tropical dream: they buy land and buy houses, start businesses, tap into the island’s enduring natural and artistic resources… and fuel the fires of commercialism. Their abilities, the island’s abundance of natural materials, the flexibility of the local craftsmen who can copy-and- craft simultaneously, and the continuing growth in tourism, have spawned this next tier of talent. Today, Bali’s bevy of builders, furniture designers, ceramicists, jewellery designers, fashionistas, carvers, glassmakers, lighting designers, glazers and the like, are too numerous to catalogue
Laminated glass bar counter and sculpture by Seiki Torige at the Biji restaurant at Begawan Giri Estate, outside Ubud.
The living area in Mrs Sin Sin’s private villa is suffused with light and space.
In many cases, these craftsmen echo the ethos of the buildings they decorate. Carvers, furniture makers and lighting specialists often use organic materials that are plentiful in Bali: be it local wood, bone, mother-of-pearl, resin or any of the smooth stones so famed island-wide, they cut, carve, shape and coax these materials into home-makers’ dreams. The designs are cutting edge, and would look as stylish in a loft in New York as on a verandah with a ricefield view. Similarly, fabrics such as batik and ikot, sourced from around the archipelago, are stamped and sewn into scatter cushions, curtains and romantic drapes for the bed. The resultant high-quality collections are now exported as well as sold within the island market. The demand for such home decor items from high-end boutiques in North America, Europe and Australia is seemingly insatiable.