Pride of Indonesia
Leonard Theosabrata Creative space maker
The Indonesian design scene has never been more vibrant, but ironically the work of the country’s most talented young practitioners is often better known overseas than in the archipelago
With Indonesia’s vast resources – plentiful raw materials, a large population and a rich culture - to draw upon, the country has the potential to become a force to be reckoned with in the world of design. Leonard Theosabrata, founder of Indoestri Makerspace, a new, fully equipped facility to cater to Indonesia’s burgeoning design community, believes this wholeheartedly.
From the explosion of local entrepreneurship brought on by pioneering efforts like Brightspot Market and The Goods Department – both of which promote Indonesian brands and both of which he co-founded – Theosabrata noticed that many Indonesians have the right spirit to start a brand, but lack the necessary approach to maintain a brand. In a country where labour is cheap and widespread, it’s easy to simply conceptualise a design and pass it off to a manufacturer, detaching oneself completely from the “making” process.
“Nowadays, you can just Google everything and you think you know what you’re doing,” says The Art Center College of Design, Pasadena alumnus. “You don’t get to appreciate the journey of finding that process and perfecting that craft. That’s how you secure longevity, and that’s what fosters innovation. That’s missing a lot in today’s world, and I’m trying to bring that back.”
Indoestri Makerspace aims to put local entrepreneurs who are serious about design back in touch with the creative process. The two-storey facility has everything that a newcomer to design may need, like small offices for rent, a meeting room, and a creative “gym” where designers are free to invent, prototype and explore their creative side. The space is fully equipped with the proper machinery for woodwork, metalwork, textile and leather work and more. This maker space is available to members who can sign up on a yearly, monthly or daily basis. Workshops are also offered in subjects like design, 3D printing, laser work, business and pottery, just to name a few.
“People come here and think it’s an educational space, which it is, but it’s not a school,” says Theosabrata. “And it’s not a place to socialise, although networking does happen. Ultimately, it’s a for-profit organisation where the creative industry can get down and dirty in their craft. The good intention behind all of this is simply because it’s an opportunity for a business to tap into a situation.
“I’ve always tried to push the local industry and scene in terms of getting better, involving the government, working with associations, forums, you name it,” says Theosabrata. “I just felt that there are a lot of ways that aren’t sustainable because it comes down to basics. So this whole self-made thing, which is at the heart of Indoestri, is about selfinitiative, self-taught, self-discipline, self-learning – that way of doing business.”
His say in the matter holds some considerable weight. Alongside his father, Yos Theosabrata, who has been in the furniture business for over 30 years now, Leonard co-founded Accupunto, a furniture brand whose prestigious awards include the Red Dot Design Award, the Interior Innovation Award from the German Design Council and the Good Design Award from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion. Accupunto gained recognition for its consideration of pressure points to create acupuncture-inspired cushions for its seating. “I was still in school then,” says Theosabrata of his early days designing for Accupunto. “My dad was kind of the inventor of the concept, but a lot of it was raw ideas. I came in with my design and branding, and together, we developed it into the brand that it is today.
“The direction has shifted from where it started, which was to push Accupunto as a monobrand. We realised that, as a furniture offering, it’s not enough, so we made it one of the offerings under the bigger umbrella of Ideal Living. All of my family’s businesses are under this umbrella. I still art-direct and design, and Accupunto is still part of my daily routine here.”
Nowadays, Theosabrata’s main focus is Indoestri. “It took some time for me to figure out, but Indoestri is a place that could open up a lot of doors. I think this concept will lift a lot of good things I’m involved in, the whole thing: manufacturing, Accupunto, our family assets, The Goods Dept., Brightspot, everything. I think Indoestri is at the connection position for everything else in my life.”
Leonard Theosabrata is helping local entrepreneurs who are serious about design get back in touch with the creative process
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