“WE lived for the first 11 months without any furniture,” recalls Eva Natasa of her and her husband’s move to Bali from Milan in 2009. “I wanted to fill our new home with Indonesianmade wooden furniture, but I couldn’t find anything I liked. So I told my husband I would design the furniture myself. He agreed, but he didn’t realise how long it would take!”
Eva studied Interior Design at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in England, followed by a Master’s degree from the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Milan. Her career began in Milan, where she worked for Design Group Italia on industrial and strategic design projects for international clients such as 3M, Post-it, Scotch and Hormel Food Corporation.
During this time, she was in teams doing projects for clients across the globe. Eva owns a US design patent as an inventor of a cleaning tool she designed for Scotch. After relocating to Bali, she continued to work as an independent designer for companies in Indonesia, the US and Italy until 2012. Meanwhile, she conducted R&D for her own furniture line.
Friends praised Eva’s own furniture when they saw it in her house. Soon, many of them were asking her to design pieces for them. In 2013, Eva decided to launch her own furniture brand. Eva Natasa furniture, she says, is the culmination
“When you have time to think, the way you live changes”
of her passion, philosophy and design ethos, along with her respect for her Indonesian roots.
Reflecting on life now with her husband and their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Eva says the Balinese live at their own rhythm and pace - in contrast with the fast-paced life she led in Italy. “Surrounded by this attitude, your pace becomes slower too,” she muses. “Now you have more time to think, which is a luxury. And when you have time to think, the way you live changes. I feel the way I design has become more insightful as well. I wake up every day with the smell of flowers and incense. It’s beautiful. I think our connection with nature is one of the most basic human needs. That’s why I respect how the Balinese connect with the natural world.”
Her first furniture collection, Lula, was created “with the intention to experience a deeper understanding of the need for furniture and design in the personal environment”. Named after her pet cat, the collection that “celebrates simplicity in everyday life”. It comprises stools, tables and coffee tables, “along with natureinspired colour options ranging from Cloud, inspired by the colour of Ubud’s cloudy sky; Stone, inspired by the volcanic stones along the river in East Java; and Cotton, inspired by blooming white cotton flowers.”
Lula, along with other 27 Indonesian collections, was exhibited at the Indonesian Pavilion at this year’s Salone del Mobile Milano. “My collection looks simple, but if people look closer they will see that Indonesian craftsmanship, material and design are of very high quality that can compete internationally,” Eva declares. “I’m happy to show a furniture collection that is 100 percent Indonesian, especially at the most important furniture exhibition in the world.”
Eva believes that good design work takes time. The idea is to create long-lasting products that respect the environment. “Thinking about every detail during the design phase makes the production process very effective,” she points out. “We take as long as it takes to design. And we have the luxury of not being under pressure to launch a new collection every year.”
Ecology and sustainability are Eva’s main considerations when choosing materials. “It’s both our limitation and challenge, yet it’s our core,” she says. “We always try to use the most suitable materials and to minimise waste. We think about the whole lifecycle of the product and how it could be recycled later.”
For the Lula collection, Eva uses teak. This wood not only looks good but is durable and requires little maintenance or use of chemical cleaning products. This is good for the environment, of course. It should also be pointed out that Eva Natasa uses only certified teak from the government-owned forestry company Perum Perhutani Cepu. The brand also specifies eco-certified adhesives, even though they cost 10 times more than regular glue.
Asked if she plans to expand her brand, Eva replies: “Yes, but I’m not planning any aggressive expansion moves. I would prefer to grow slowly and steadily.” Naturally.
clockwise from left: LULA 02 AND O2H STOOL & HIGH STOOL; LULA 06 COFFEE TABLE; EVA NATASA; LULA 04 WOOD TABLE