Sun, 13 Apr 1997

Hadiprana builds on flourishing design career

By Amir Sidharta

JAKARTA (JP): The name of Hendra Hadiprana has until now been closely associated with interior design and decor in Indonesia.

Besides his modest Galeri Hadiprana on Jl. Falatehan, South Jakarta, he has designed many interiors of the homes of Jakarta's rich and famous. A distinctly flamboyant Hadiprana style is apparent in the houses he decorated.

However, the Jendela (Window) exhibition delineating the firm's accomplishments to date, on display at Mitra Hadiprana in Kemang, South Jakarta, shows that his firm has developed into a diverse and versatile architectural and interior design firm offering more than just decorating.

After graduating from the Groningen Academy in the Netherlands in 1957, Hendra Hadiprana along with three staff members established a firm dealing in interior design and construction. The country's economic growth during the New Order government was followed by a building boom, which in turn fostered the development of Hadiprana's company. It soon incorporated an architectural design and construction division.

In 1988, the company was formally established as Grahacipta Hadiprana. Under the direction of Sindhu Hadiprana, the company adopted a new, professional management system. It employed fresh and promising graduates in architecture and interior design to assume the various jobs that the company had to accomplish. Currently the office is staffed by more than 150 personnel.

Although at the time Hadiprana had already developed his own style in interior design, he allowed each of his associates to develop their own design styles. While some projects, such as Vila Tanah Gajah in Bedulu, about 4 km southeast of Ubud, Bali, continue to carry Hendra Hadiprana's signature design, the identity of Hadiprana's firm can now be recognized by the styles of the firm's young designers.

The new design spirit of the firm comes through, starting with the design of the Bali Intercontinental Resort in Jimbaran Bay, Bali (1989-1993). The architecture of the complex, also designed by a Hadiprana staff member, is relatively simple compared to Hadiprana's designs of the time. This leads Hendra Hadiprana to conceptualize an a compatible decorating scheme for the hotel's interiors.

The lobby is focused on a central element, Ombak Baruna, a gigantic sculpture symbolizing the waves of the ocean. Even though Hendra Hadiprana continued to use his favorite paintings of frivolous Balinese figures to decorate the lobby's ceilings, the large sculpture as the strong focal element made the rest of the decor appear subdued. Certainly, Rita Widagdo's modern sculpture is a wiser choice than the stylized sculpture of three horses in the Barito Pacific head office.

In interior design, Grahacipta Hadiprana has continued to work on several hotels, restaurants, office buildings and residences. The firm's hotel projects include Sheraton Media Hotel, Jakarta, Citraland Hotel, Semarang, Lippo Sahid Hotel, Lippo Cikarang, and Horison Hotel, in Hanoi, Vietnam.

In terms of offices, the firm has worked on Bank Niaga, Graha Kirana, Graha Paramita, Ometraco, and Dharmala Intiland's head offices, all in Jakarta. Hadiprana's fame in interior design has been inherited by the firm's numerous young interior designers.

Perhaps the most interesting interior design projects in which the firm has been involved are two internationally renowned theme restaurants. Acting as interior design consultants, Hadiprana collaborated with the Rockwell Group New York on Planet Hollywood, and with Michael Le Clere and Associates, New York on Fashion Cafe.

"Of course, they assigned the designer who was most familiar with the bar scene to handle the cafe projects," joked architect Kwendeche. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, he arrived in Jakarta during the construction of Plaza Indonesia, as an architect of the firm Helmut, Obata, and Kassabaum.

He was recruited by Hadiprana a few years ago to manage projects that were developed in association with foreign design firms.

It appears that architecture will become the core activity of the firm in the future. While the figure of Hendra Hadiprana may never cease to overshadow the firm's interior designs, Graha Hadiprana's architecture is bound to emerge through the hands of four emerging architects.


Sindhu Hadiprana, heir apparent to Hadiprana's design enterprise, prides himself on his most recent design, Bumi Asah in Cisarua. Constructed using many recycled building materials and set in a relatively tranquil natural environment, this human resources training and development center offers a simple and subdued setting for contemplation, meditation and rejuvenation. The mature design is only to be expected from the senior principal of the company.

The younger architects are the ones who can afford to experiment with different design styles. Dedi Kusnadi's Villa Lina Tannos at Puncak Santika, Bogor, seems to have been used as a fun project to explore various design possibilities.

Although for the most part the design offers a mediterranean look, the use of simplistic architectural elements as well as terracotta roof tiles suggest the influence of Postmodernist Michael Graves in this scheme. It also seems clear that the client's tastes dominated the development of this design.

His design for The Legian, near the Petitenget area, north of Legian, Bali, appears to be more in line with his personal design style, although it is also reminiscent of Hadiprana's earlier Bali Intercontinental Resort. Yet the insensitive monumental scale of this architectural monolith warrants criticism, especially when compared to the acclaimed Oberoi nearby, designed by Australian architect Peter Muller.

The monstrous building is rumored to have scared off diners at neighboring La Lucciola, a serene beachfront Italian restaurant housed in a simple wood and thatch roof structure. However, taken out of its environmental context, the design of the hotel itself is not bad.

Although M. Faried Masdoeki has been the main architect for the design of Bali Intercontinental Resorts, like Dedi Kusnadi he has not completely developed a distinct design style. His designs for Mitra Hadiprana seems promising, but unfortunately are not followed through with compatible high quality construction.

His willingness to explore different styles has lead him to develop the designs for the Citra Indah marketing office in Jonggol, West Java. His interpretation of a colonial building as delineated in the client's brief lead him to come up with a variant of what appears like a government building in Calcutta, complete with a central domed atrium in the center and secondary domes on each of the buildings' wings.

The most devout follower of modern simplicity in design of the Hadiprana team of architects is clearly Andra Matin. Trained at Bandung's University of Parahyangan, this architect, member of the Young Indonesian Architects Forum, seems to have been heavily influenced by the design of the so-called New York Five, group of architects which include Charles Gwathmey, Richard Meier, Pieter Eisenman, John Hejduk, and Michael Graves (before he converted into Post Modernism). This is evident in his design for a house in Kemang, which could be set anywhere else in the world, even in New York.


The influences of the modern masters of architecture can also be seen in his Graha Paramita, a relatively simple composition of shapes crowned by a horizontal disk on the very top of the structure.

This intriguing architectural element was initially meant for a helipad, but later it was constructed as a satellite dish. Fortunately, the form was retained. Now this circular form has become the identifying element of the building on Jl. Casablanca, South Jakarta.

Andra Matin's designs have become the most distinct among Hadiprana's other architects, although they are executed in the universal language of a new international style. Observers can immediately recognize Matin's touch in such modern projects as the Datascrip building and BCA's drive-through ATM structure on Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta.

Nonetheless, we should not forget that the four leading designers developed the projects in a team effort, still largely under the guidance of patriarch Hadiprana. When these architects ultimately work on a project together, they might come up with something even more exciting, as with their scheme for Bintan Nusantara Resort on Bintan Island.

To be sure, Hendra Hadiprana is worthy of praise, if not for his flamboyant interior design, then for his open-mindedness in letting each of his architectural designers develop their own design style. This will ensure that Grahacipta Hadiprana will progress to handle much more than just decorating.