150 km away from the hustle and bustle Jakarta is the capital city of West Java, Bandung. Even though it is an urban city, unlike Jakarta, you can still easily breathe some fresh air and have a peaceful time in a cuddly rainy weather. Located in the heart of Bandung, we are so excited to have Dendy Darman and his family in this installment of Lovely Nest. As we stepped into the house, we could feel the sense of welcoming not only from the place but from both the owners, Dendy and his wife, Lina.
Many may have known Dendy as the founder of local clothing brand called unkl347. The business has since expanded into various types of design. From organizing youth movements, innovating a new form of creativity, up to supporting any kind of sub-culture evolution, Dendy and his team want to bring pleasure, meaning, and beauty to lives through good design that is more accessible and affordable.
Known for his aesthetic taste, Dendy has made U&KL to accommodate his sense of design in furniture and home decor industry. His furniture line is often found in the house that he designed. It is not difficult to look for the house that he designed online however when it comes to his own house, there are barely any information about it. That’s why, this time we invite you to come and take a look around inside the house of Dendy Darman himself.
The house is located in a sloping road, so the house construction followed the model of the road. Located in 400m2 area, the 250m2 house is divided into two floors. The first floor is used as a common space and welcoming the guests while the second floor which is in the same level with the ground serve as the family room which is more private. Built around 1980s, Dendy renovated the house and has been living there for two years with his wife and two adorable sons.
How do you describe yourself?
Simply put, I am a designer. If I were to describe myself, I’d say that I make something that I love. I spend my time doing what I love and in the end of the day, I can make money from it, luckily. Sometimes even I become confused if I am working or playing.
Tell us about the design concept of your home
The initial concept is to transform the ideas that my wife had in mind for the house. Because she is not a designer, I tried to visualize the dream house that she had in mind following her description. She actually wanted a house that is timeless. My wife really loves American comedy TV series, so the house is inspired by it from the color to the materials. It has high ceiling and wooden floor. As for me, I love mid-century design. So I try to incorporate both style to the concept of out home. As a result, we often call this house ‘rumah dinas’ because of its timelessness.
Where do you get your home decor inspiration?
The design inspiration comes from various sources including several friends and colleagues who work as an architect. We meet up and discuss a lot of stuff, probably that’s why I tend to get inspired from them. From what I see, design and architect has a connection. I am also confident with the design because I had a great team behind me who can translate my taste into real life. As a graphic design graduates, I see things from 2-dimensional eyes and my architect team is the one who made it into 3-dimensional.
Other than that, I also get lots of inspirations from browsing the internet and traveling. My favorite designers are Charles and Ray Eames and Jaime Hayon.
Where do you usually get your furniture as well as your decor stuff?
I usually design it by myself. The ones that I bought are the furniture that I truly love myself. For example, I am a big fan of Eames so I bought the chair as a part of my living room. I mostly bought something because I like the designers, but in terms of function, I usually just made it myself.
What is important to you in a living space?
The most important thing for a house is to be able to represent the owner. It’s a bit like buying shoes or clothes. Pick a furniture that fits your personality and aesthetic so it can represent yourself. Moreover, house is just a place for you to stay and sleep but home is more than that. Home is a place that I longed for wherever I go.
If you can pick one item from your home, what is your favorite?
Favorite item: my collection of keyboards.
Favorite furniture: Eames chair and ottoman.
Favorite decor item: the handmade Titanic replica.
Can you share us some tips on decorating?
I think a house should have the right furniture. A big house would seem small if it has an unfitting furniture but a small house would seem big if the furniture fits perfectly. The exterior and interior should have the same dimension. There is no big house or small house for me, just a comfortable one. Picking the right furniture is very important. It is the key factor for your home.
What makes you love design?
Design keeps on changing everyday. I like the scheme because it is not a certain thing. Like I can work for hours and hours or I can get stuck for two days straight. Ideas can come at any hour and it can be very exhilarating. It is even more amazing if I can see the ideas come alive. That’s why I also love surfing because it has the similar feel of uncertainty which is positive. When you go surfing, things might not go as you planned but it is okay because from the uncertain things, I can be more creative to see what I can do instead. When it comes to client, I do not have a certain deadline and luckily my clients understand the way I work. But of course, I have a ‘gentleman agreement’ to finish the project accordingly.
You are known as a graphic designer, do you think that graphic design and interior design support each other? How has your business evolve in those years?
Yes of course. Unkl has been in the business for 20 years. For local fashion brand, I must say that it has been quite a long time. The business have expanded and as the founder, I have also grown up. I remembered back then how I used to worry about what to wear on daily basis, but now I realize that it is not so worrisome anymore. I think that it is also time to delegate unkl to younger generation for they might have fresher ideas and unique approach.
I used to design for clothing a lot, but now I am trying out furniture design too. While we have been in the clothing industry for a long time, we are still considerably young in furniture industry because our competitors have been in the industry longer than us. Furthermore, I am also helped by a couple of architects to design housing as well. The main reason is to accommodate the furniture design itself. I created houses that are fully furnished because I would like to show the customer how to place our furniture.
Truth to be told, selling local brand by retail can be a bit challenging. I have talked to a couple of my friends who also worked in similar industry and they admitted how challenging it is to sell local furniture brand. Instead, they got jobs to design a space such as office. That’s why I chose the housing path since I did not want to repeat the same mistake.
I think design itself is an “act of rebel”. Back then fashion is kind of a statement for me to show the rebel side. But it is not very relevant right now, I think I just need comfortable and clean clothes to wear (haha). In contrary, we become rebel in furniture design, we tried making something new and made a concept house like Haba House to accommodate our rebelliousness.
At the moment, I had a showroom and service center located in Bandung while the workshop is in Cilegon. I will be renovating the showroom in near future so it can be more efficient and functional. I am hoping that it can attract more customers be it young adult or adult and make it more welcoming for customers who would like to take a look around.
You have been designing lots of houses, is there any difference from designing your own house?
There is not much difference in designing my own house and the client’s house because here, my client is my own wife, hahaha.
Do you have any collection at home? Why do you collect those things?
I love music. As you can see there are vintage keyboards and vinyl records. I have been collecting stuffs since I was in college. It just comes out naturally not that I look for a certain thing on a certain time. I really love analogue stuffs because I think I am an 80s kid. What makes the decade different is because it is a transition after the post-modern time. It is innovative and authentic.
How do you usually spend your time at home?
On daily basis, I spend a lot of time with my family because my work is more flexible. I usually play my musical instruments while my wife bake some cakes then we will eat together with the family. On some weekends, I went to our cabin house near the beach to enjoy surfing. Other than that, my kids usually love to go to malls.
Do you have any future plans for the home as well as your business?
I want to alter the furniture every 6 months in each space especially on the first floor so it can refresh the look. Likewise, I would like to build an office model with a knock down system in a small area. Because of the knock down system, you can tear and assemble the house more easily. So if you are moving somewhere, you can ‘bring’ the office with you.
The project that I have wanted to do for so long is to design a very simple home (rumah sangat sederhana). I am in the middle of discussion with a developer and the term from is that I want to make it my own way. I think of using a material that is good of quality yet affordable. Just because the design is good, it does not mean that people of lower class can not enjoy it. I want to break the stereotype that people had about design. I think, good design doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be expensive.
For me, if someone follows my design, I do not feel bad about it. I even think that it is a compliment for my design. Unconsciously it ends up becoming a trend. In addition, I think the purpose of Indonesian designers today is to give example and to become a problem solver.
Take a look around their house in this video.
It has been such a pleasure to visit your home and have a chat with you and your family. By the end of the interview, they have prepared us soto ayam which is just perfect for the rainy afternoon. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas about design and so forth and being an inspirational kind of person. We look forward to your future projects and the best of luck for your team.
Text by Filicia