Jaya Ibrahim (Indonesia)
AN accountant turned “celebrity” interior designer famed for luxury resorts like the Aman at Summer Palace Beijing, The Legian Bali, The Chedi Milan and The Club at The Saujana in Malaysia, Jaya Ibrahim is an accidental furniture designer.
“We needed to design the furniture for our interior work because we couldn’t find the things that could perform the function we needed or purposemade furniture for specific projects or the quality we were aiming for,” says Jaya via e-mail.
He launched his debut collection of premium furniture, Jaya Classics, in 2013.
Using rare materials like Makassar ebony and sonokeling (a Javanese rosewood), the collection of chairs, beds, cabinets and lighting comes in limited editions of just 36 pieces for each design.
Meticulously crafted, the pieces embody Jaya’s commitment to craftsmanship.
“I chose the rare hard woods for their beauty and quality.
“Unlike other exotic tropical timbers, there is no need to stain them nor impregnate them to enhance the wood,” says the designer whose works reveal touches of his aristocratic background (his mother is a Javanese princess) and Javanese roots.
Sonokeling wood was favoured by Javanese nobility for sheaths and elaborate hilts for the keris.
Jaya scoured local markets across Java, Bali, China, Burma and Thailand, to “dig out” uncut rock rubies, carved horn, carved bone and natural shaped amber and turquoise to fashion handles for his wardrobes and cabinets.
“I always take tradition as inspiration and forge something contemporary that is pleasing to look at, balanced and elegant,” says the designer who cut his design teeth under famed interior designer, hotelier and socialite Anouska Hempel in London.
“I cannot design out of context, there need to be a story behind it, a purpose.”
In his work and his life, references to the past have always been very important when forging the future, Jaya adds: “It is not always about continuing traditions, it is more about using and reinterpreting tradition to craft something contemporary. Jaya Classics reflect this sentiment.” (Website:
Shiatzy dining chair.