Work Hard, Be Humble

Photography By Renovatio Design doc.

The eye-catching rope-covered hallway at Mercure Grand Mirama Surabaya and the glamorous show unit of VieLoft at Ciputra World Surabaya have one thing in common: they were designed by Yohannes Mochtar of Renovatio. We featured him in our “Surabaya” edition in 2016 and we worked with him again during the preparation of our 15th Anniversary celebration, where he designed the “Time Tunnel.” Despite his high-end clientele, the designer admits that he still explores everyday objects and simple materials to inspire his designs.

What’s your tip for creating a good design?

Honestly, I feel that what I have is a God-given talent. When you are given such talent, it is your responsibility to use and develop it. And that’s what I have been doing so far. If I have a talent in design, why should I create ordinary designs? Obviously, I have to try to create extraordinary designs, to create something new. I have to expand the inspirations that come into my mind, and not let them just be. I think we have to keep researching and developing our talents to be able to push the boundary.

Take SWP for example. Because it is shaped like a plank, I can easily use planks to cover it and that would look just as good. But we wanted the next step above ordinary, a singular design. God always reminds me not to be stagnant—not to be satisfied with just the run off the mill. To inspire others, let’s create something new.

How do you maintain your quality of design?

We limit the number of projects because our team is also still in development. It is not only quality that we are trying to maintain, but also the relationship with our clients. If we take all of the projects that come our way, it will be difficult to maintain quality control and we will not have the time to go further. I really miss tweaking a design, creating something new, developing a new design for our clients and giving them our best efforts.

What kind of design is popular with people these days?

The millennial generation has a totally different work habit compared to my generation. While we have a designated time to “go to work,” complete with a desk and other work stuff, the new generation can work only with their cell phones and laptops, anywhere they want to—everything is mobile these days.

Consequently, as a designer we have to present flexibility in work and uniqueness that we can use optimally. We have to become more creative, more versatile and more unique. It is also important to be presentable because the millennial generation is very much exposed to the social media, which can also be used as a power tool for marketing and extra publication.

We do not specifically prepare a spot for this social media marketing, but we are aware that some areas need to be Instagrammable. I would certainly create a focal point, but generally the design should be visually appealing. If the design is good, it will look good from any angles.

You have done a lot of commercial projects. How do you feel about doing the installation for our 15th Anniversary celebration?

It is interesting and challenging. We could push for the most outstanding creation because we know that iD magazine’s guests and supporters who would attend the event are those from the property business and design world. These people are known to be more sensitive to design, more knowledgeable, more educated and more critical. I have to create something totally different, a combination of the occasion—the iD event—and the feature of SWP. Not to mention that all of these must be done within a limited amount of time.

What concept did you create for the iD’s 15th Anniversary?

I was assigned to create an entrance that linked the reception area with the exhibition and ballroom area – in just one night. For this anniversary event, we wanted to present a design that had something to do with time, hence the name “Time Tunnel.” I designed a futuristic concept that was reminiscent of the Star Trek film set.

The tunnel also made use of a new material: Synthetic Wood Wall Panel (SWP). I wanted the tunnel to highlight the features of SWP, so people are aware that the panel can be applied using unorthodox means. I like to play with a material that is known as a rigid object and make it more fluid.

We also have to feature this new product so that it can inspire other people. We obviously have to catch people’s attention first, making them wonder: is it made of wallpaper, wood or what? Then they can see for themselves—that it comes in a six or 12-metre sheets, that it is foldable, and so on. We are pushing our boundaries and perceptions about this material.

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Barbara Hahijary
Barbara earned her bachelor's degree in architecture from the Interior Architecture Program of the University of Indonesia in 2013. Historical or heritage buildings, as well as utilitarian design, fascinates her as it is the interaction between people and architecture that remains her favourite topic to explore. Besides architecture, her interests include design, handcrafts, literature and social issues.

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