Yin Yang

Indonesia Tatler Homes - - INTERVIEWS - Pho­tog­ra­phy Ari Iskan­dar, Fratello Pho­tog­ra­phy

Col­lege friends, Suk­endro Suk­endra and Jef­fry Sandy, founded Nataneka de­spite un­cer­tain­ties;

they share their story with Ria Iskan­dar

(This Page, left to right) Jef­fry Sandy; Suk­endro Suk­endar

While study­ing ar­chi­tec­ture to­gether at the Univer­sity of Trisakti, Suk­endro Suk­endar and Jef­fry Sandy, be­came best of friends. At the time, Sandy was Suk­endar’s ju­nior and he learned a lot from his part­ner. They started to work to­gether on a num­bers of small projects. They also fre­quently hanged out with their ar­chi­tect friends who joined the In­done­sian young ar­chi­tects com­mu­nity called AMI. Their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the com­mu­nity has played an im­por­tant role in their ca­reers.

They grad­u­ated from col­lege in the early 90’s, and Suk­endar started his ca­reer as an ar­chi­tect at Para Maloka Con­sul­tants. Those years co­in­cided with the mon­e­tary cri­sis in In­done­sia. It was a tough time for ev­ery­body, in­clud­ing the lo­cal ar­chi­tects. Many ar­chi­tec­ture firms closed down dur­ing those dark days in our history. In midst of the strug­gle, Suk­endar and Sandy did not loose their hope. They loved ar­chi­tec­ture and they were ar­chi­tects, noth­ing could change that.

In 1999, they de­cided to build a de­sign com­pany to­gether af­ter they won the first place for the mosque de­sign com­pe­ti­tion that was held by their univer­sity. Nataneka has won a list of pres­ti­gious awards, such as the first place win­ner of the IAI Awards in 2006, 2009 and 2011 for the com­pact or smart de­sign cat­e­gory.

Dis­cover how their dif­fer­ent ways of think­ing be­came their strength in this in­ter­view with the two found­ing fathers of Nataneka Ar­chi­tect.

In­done­sia Tatler Homes (ITH): What is the mean­ing of Nataneka, it sounds very Ja­panese?

Suk­endro Suk­endar (SS): To the con­trary it is ac­tu­ally very Ja­vanese. It is an adap­ta­tion from Ja­vanese lan­guage. ‘Nata’ mean­ing to ar­range or dec­o­rate and ‘Neka’ mean­ing a lot of vari­a­tions. Jef­fry Sandy (JS): We also like the fact that its sounds Ja­panese. Since we are big fans of Ja­panese de­sign, es­pe­cially their ar­chi­tec­ture. They al­ways think out of the box. They are able to trans­form sim­plic­ity into great de­sign.

ITH: Most peo­ple say that Ja­pan al­ready has ev­ery­thing, since they are cat­e­go­rized as a de­vel­oped coun­try. They seem to have the time to pay at­ten­tion to de­tails. How do you feel?

SS: Well if we have a look around us, it is not only hap­pen­ing in Ja­pan. These days there are many In­done­sian de­sign­ers that also give a lot of at­ten­tion to de­tails. The same thing for us as ar­chi­tects, we al­ways try not only to think big, but also to pay more at­ten­tion to the de­tails. For ex­am­ple we can ar­gue for days about the small de­tails of our residential de­signs.

ITH: How would you de­scribe Nataneka’s style in four words be­tween the two of you?

JS: Smart, nat­u­ral SS: Thin, float­ing

ITH: How did you unite your ide­al­ism as ar­chi­tects?

SS: Our per­son­al­i­ties are to­tally dif­fer­ent. Sandy is a more silent, well-or­ga­nized kind of per­son. I am the op­po­site. JS: Maybe that is why we com­pleted each other

ITH: Do you par­take in other ac­tiv­i­ties that do not in­volve ar­chi­tec­ture?

JS: Yes, in sev­eral ac­tiv­i­ties SS: We each have our own group of friends out­side of the realm of ar­chi­tec­ture. For ex­am­ple, Jef­fry has his own cy­cling com­mu­nity that he en­joys meet­ing.

ITH: Tell us about an un­for­get­table mo­ment while work­ing to­gether.

SS: Maybe when we fi­nally opened our own of­fice in Kuningan, af­ter many years of be­ing no­madic. (laugh) JS: It felt like we hav­ing your own home. We bought the of­fice in 2010 and in 2011 we moved in.

ITH: Which pro­ject gave you most sat­is­fac­tion?

JS: Just like ev­ery ar­chi­tect, I would say that ev­ery pro­ject is my favourite. Each one has its dif­fer­ent chal­lenges and tri­umphs, a dif­fer­ent story that makes them all spe­cial to us. SS: As an ar­chi­tect, it does not mean that we should be an in­ven­tor all the time, yet we should try to make a bet­ter ver­sion of our pre­vi­ous de­signs. Un­til we reach per­fec­tion.

ITH: What is your dream pro­ject?

SS: We came close to work­ing on dream projects a cou­ple times. One of them was in West Su­lawesi. We al­ways dreamt of work­ing on a pro­ject with a chal­leng­ing land­scape, such as the edge of the cliff. There has been a few of­fers, but none has ma­te­ri­al­ized yet. JS: We travel a lot and have seen a lot of projects like that. We’re re­ally hop­ing to work on a mag­nif­i­cent pro­ject like that some­day.

ITH: Has it al­ways been your dream to be­come an ar­chi­tect?

SS: I al­ways won the draw­ing com­pe­ti­tions when I was in school. In fact, there is no one in my fam­ily that has an ar­chi­tec­ture back­ground. At first, I re­ally loved sketch­ing and play­ing lego. Then I de­cided to study ar­chi­tec­ture in col­lege and grad­u­ated as the best stu­dent in my class. JS: Just like Suk­endar draw­ing was a hobby. I re­mem­ber that I was al­ways very ex­cited when my par­ents took me to the con­struc­tion site of our house. My un­cle, a con­trac­tor, would also take me with him to his projects ever so of­ten. Those mo­ments al­ways made me ex­cited. I then de­cided to play make be­lieve and started build­ing in our street us­ing my toy cars and ce­ment!

ITH: If you were not an ar­chi­tect, what would you be?

SS: I would be a watch­maker or a fur­ni­ture de­signer, still in the cre­ative in­dus­try for sure. JS: Maybe I would have be­come a ten­nis player. When I was a kid I had a dream to be a ten­nis player. I al­most joined the Bollettieri Ten­nis pro­gram in Sin­ga­pore when I was a teenager. But I did not make it since I was not able to at­tend the fi­nal game, be­cause of per­sonal mat­ters.

(This Page, clock­wise from top) One of the of­fice de­sign by Nataneka; The ho­tel’s ar­chi­tec­ture lo­cated in Ban­dung; A residential pro­ject in In­tercon area

(Op­po­site Page, left to right) One of the out­door area of a residential lo­cated in Ke­doya; The de­sign for villa units in Bali

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