Photos by Mario Wibowo
Passing along a narrow road in the North Bandung neighbourhood, the masculine side of Hikari House dominates the front aspect. With exposed concrete, steel bars, and ulin wood as the key features, the residence stands out from the other houses with its minimalist façade contrasting with a green elevated lawn – giving a lush look at eye-level.
Behind the project were architects Erick Laurentius and Ronald Pallencaoe from Pranala Associates. “The client brief was to create a low-maintenance design, but the real challenge was in preserving the original layout,” the architects said. The renovation resulted in 85% of the former house being refurbished – delivering a modern tropical house with a clean design and much improved interaction between the public, private, and service areas.
Erick and Ronald continued. “We were trying to achieve a simple, aesthetically pleasing design. We wanted to show the structure of the building. This meant that the construction work needed to be neat from the very beginning.”
It took one and a half years for the duo to finish the project. A straightforward theme underlines the whole design of the one-floor residence, with a feminine twist becoming evident once you go inside.
Entering through the main door, the house welcomes you with three openings that lead to an open terrace with a serene view of a hill-like green lawn. The architect duo said that Hikari House, translated as “The House of Light”, emphasises the use of natural light to enhance the user’s experience.
However, the architects explained that the interaction between light and space was one of the main challenges they had to solve. “We integrated how natural light enters the space through our space programme that aims to enliven all areas. One example is through the activation of the landscape.”
One example is the indoor cactus garden, located by the dining room. Taking the principle of ‘lighting sculpture’, natural light varies throughout the year – following the earth’s rotation in relation to the sun. The varying angles not only create a seamless continuum between the outdoor and indoor spaces but also imbue a meditative character, as different quality and intensity of light enters through the horizontal openings above the dry garden. The same approach has been applied in the living room.
The dining area is surrounded by a calm union of pale shades. The architects experimented with teak wood recovered from the former house and recycled them into doorsills, wall coverings and even furniture.
The living room is a space to unwind and is decorated in a combination of earthy colours of beige and dark brown. The dark leather-clad sofas provide a bold accent to the entire room with the translucent sliding doors allowing in copious amounts of natural light and fresh air.
To enhance the serene ambience of the interior, the terrace leading to the lawn needed to be inviting. The architects established a full-circle of the yin and yang composition by using black granite flooring as an antithesis of the white ash wood theme interior as a way of connecting to the raw masculine exterior.
A final reflection from Hikari House is the sense of hidden beauty, which creates an uplifting feeling.
The elevated lawn is graceful and, contrasted with the explicit use of bare concrete, the combination of green grass, Japanese bamboo trees and willow trees makes a very neat and calming minimalist garden.
The two architects agreed, revealing the secret: “The garden needs to be graceful, that’s why we use these particular types of trees and turf.”