When a material is abundant and easy to obtain, it is sometimes taken for granted. That is what concerns Mega Puspita, Alain Bunjamin and Maulana Fariduddin about bamboo and crafts made of woven bamboo. With a spirit to preserve the craftsmanship, they established Studio Dapur.
Studio Dapur is a social enterprise that collaborates with bamboo artisans from Padakembang Village, Tasikmalaya, West Java. They design, develop and produce bamboo products. Literally meaning ‘kitchen studio’, the company offers products inspired by items normally used in the kitchen and dining areas.
“Bamboo is a material with a lot of potentials. Aside from the economic value, it also has cultural values and local wisdom. Bamboo products involve many people in the making, from logging to weaving and shaping. It can affect the social activity in a village,” says Mega. Unfortunately, there is lack of interest in preserving the craft amongst the young generation of Padakembang Village. It results in the degradation of skills.
Studio Dapur aims to empower as many artisans as possible. Since the commencement of the enterprise in 2016, they have collaborated with 13 artisans, amongst whom are the highly skilled couple, Toto and Ecin. Now the couple’s daughter, who at first did not show any interest at all, is already skillful in weaving and managing the production.
“The artisans are our partners. We have signed up some of their families for BPJS, the national health insurance. We share 10 percent of Studio Dapur’s shares with them. So they are also the enterprise’s co-owners, and they get the annual dividend,” Mega explains. The promise of a fixed income has attracted some of the villagers to focus on bamboo weaving.
The artisans understand that good products are sturdy, straight, not blackish and have no loose fibre. The sales of the overall products sometimes take them by surprise; especially the food cover because they did not expect many people would still use it. That goes to show that bamboo products have a high value when they are made in a high standard and wholeheartedly. For a safer use, Studio Dapur uses non-toxic water-based finishing and does not involve bleaching.
Some of their most wanted creations are the Boana Food Cover and the Suka Tray. Their first product, the Satwastu Tray, is still the bestselling. The mix technique of modern laminating and traditional weaving has made it their icon, while the hexagonal design shows the high artisanal skills.
Studio Dapur products can be found in many outlets throughout Jakarta and Bali. Next year they are looking to expand the market by doing their first export. To support that, they are going to recruit and train more artisans in the village. These plans will not only improve their impact in Padakembang Village, but also ensure that Studio Dapur will sustain its presence in the future.