Architect Ade Herkarisma, known for the in-house leader of Architecture and Development division of Potato Head’s en vogue establishments in Indonesia and overseas, including Bali-based hotel Katamama, believes in integrating lifestyles, architecture and design. After graduating from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (Sciarc) in Los Angeles and working in New York for 11 years, Ade, with Potato Head’s Architecture and Development Division, has collaborated with big names, including the Japanese firm Sou Fujimoto, Brazilian studio Marcio Kogan and Rem Koolhaas’s OMA Studio.
Photo by Ade Herkarisma, Potato Head, and Bagus Tri Laksono
Before returning to Indonesia, Herkarisma’s significant projects include a collaboration project with Herzog & de Meuron for Miami Art Museum and 40 Bond New York-based company Residence of Ian Schrager, the Tourbus Hotel for Global Nomads in Rome which was exhibited at the Copper Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, and a collaborative architecture furniture line Depac*, which won Future Furniture Competition by Interior Design Magazine in 2006. The interview was edited for length and clarity.
Why become an architect?
Starting on an early age, growing up with both of my parents are architects, I was exposed a lot with hand-drawing sketches and architecture books around the house. Somewhat, this had slowly nurtured and trained me. As I grow older, I gained my respect to architecture. It interests me how people behave to space differently. A good space could set your mood whether it is bad or good, sad or happy—how cool is that. I was fortunate enough that I love what I’m doing. To be a good architect it, consumes a lot of our time and requires dedication, you have to care and in it for 100 percent.
Describe your signature style.
A lot of the work approach I have done is to adapt to the surrounding site and take the best out of it.
How is your work in Indonesia and in New York different?
My work is more explorative now. The industry, including owners and developers in Indonesia are more open and willing. There are more opportunities to grow here at the moment. Those two reasons drove me to come back. The main big difference is the number of skilled builders we have.
There are many of them that are skillful, but not properly trained for building construction.
How is the creative process when you collaborate with big names?
When we started pitching to the big names, architects –this is before their acceptance of the job, we usually invite them to meet us and see our property and experience on what we do as a lifestyle company. This is the key element for
our consultant to understand, that we holds strong element in the design. My team role is to make sure that we create a healthy and a creative collaborations between design firms and us by injecting our Potato Head DNA to create something that is richer with a better outcome.
What has changed in the design sense of hotel industry?
Hotel guests are getting smarter now and expect personalized experience tailor to meet their needs; such as types of pillow, signature room aromatherapy, curated itinerary etc. Technology plays a huge role, for example, smartphone that connects to the TV set is necessary today because guests are tech-savvy. More and more hotels are loosing their common facilities like business center or banquet room and becoming communal spaces.
What was your favorite project?
The Katamama is my favourite project because it is the first hotel and we were involved since the first stage. As we have a very good team with fine quality of craftmanship, we are able to pull-off this project.