At the cusp of the new millennium, thousands of foreigners, many of whom are engaged in some kind of artistic activity, have made Bali their home. From Sayan to Sanur, Kintamani to Kuta, a new cosmopolitanism flourishes. This influx, from both the West and East, arrives on Bali’s shores literally by the day. No longer in search of the utopian idyll as were earlier travellers, such people create a craft studio, oil an import-export business, open an artisanal workshop, and join the dream-home building boom. Feeding off the innate creativity of the Balinese and bringing new technologies and ideas from outside, they design, reinterpret and rework the much-touted concept of ‘Bali style’.
Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the fields of architecture and interior design. As with their predecessors, who started coming to the island in the 1930s, these newcomers have a lifestyle that revolves around a heady combination of tropical indoor-outdoor living, island charm and artistic endeavour. But there are some significant differences in the application of their creativity- it’s a case of ‘Bali style’ growing up, leaving home (literally as well as metaphorically) and transforming into what can be termed ‘new tropical internationalism.