“This is Wantilan. Only designers, design administrators and managers work from here,” the John Hardy representative pointed at a building with tall windows in the middle of a rice field. After explaining about how this gorgeous Wantilan (Balinese village meeting hall) was moved there, she invited me inside to greet some designers.
I’d been invited to review the John Hardy showroom in Ubud. We were in a place called Br. Baturning Mambal, Abiansemal, Badung, around 30 minutes from Ubud at the John Hardy jewellery workshop where they hand craft and design beautiful jewellery for the international market. I’d been invited to join a tour of the workshop, meet the designers and visit the factory, before having a shared lunch. It was the start of the tour.
The room was large and airy with light streaming through the floor to ceiling windows. There were a dozen people seated around the room at various workstations. I was introduced to Gede, one of the designers. He had just released a colouring book for adults and it was obvious he was a talented designer. He was busy creating designs for the upcoming John Hardy collection.
Wantilan is where all the creative work of design started. Unlike many large jewellery companies, they don’t use computer-aided design. I saw several designers, heads down, carefully drawing and rendering designs on A4 sheets of paper. Being in a room full of creative people, made me want to draw or do something creative (you understand what I am talking about right?).
Although I wanted to stay and explore the office it was time to move on and explore more of the complex on our John Hardy review. We first visited the large communal kitchens where busy chefs prepared food for the 650 staff that worked on site. In the centre of the kitchen, a fire burned in a traditional Balinese wood fired oven.
Then we moved on to the production area. The John Hardy representative showed us around the production area, she brought us around the factory, explaining how the jewellery was created.
The factory was split into different areas with specialised craftsmen doing individual tasks. There was an area where they carved wax moulds of all the designs, the furnace where they melted the metals and poured the silver and gold into moulds and then the workshops where they put the jewellery together.
I once visited a super simple silver making workshop back in Jogjakarta, but what I saw in John Hardy was a world away from this. It left me speechless on how much attention that they put into a single item of silver jewellery.
The final part of the tour was a visit to the Kapal Bambu showroom. It’s called Kapal Bambu, because it looks like an upturned ship (kapal) and it’s made from bamboo 😉
It’s an impressive structure, beautifully designed. This building made from sustainable materials, like bamboo and reed. The Kapal Bambu Showroom floats on the rice field. In fact as you walk through the showroom you see bits of rice poking through the floor in places.
I walked around the showroom and was dazzled by the John Hardy collection. The Palu collection is so pretty. The motive is the result of hand-hammered silver / gold (I saw the hand-hammering process too in production area). I also loved the Bamboo collection. Every piece and design of John Hardy collection is special.
At the end of the tour I sat down outside nearby the Kapal Bambu to enjoy the surrounding while waiting for lunch. “As you can see, you can’t find so many flowers here, because we tend to plants things that we can eat. We are aiming to grow our own food” said the John Hardy representative.
This place doesn’t really need flowers, though, it is beautiful and tranquil. I sat silently and smiled at the lady. I was happy to have visited the workshop on this John Hardy review. It was just one of the many interesting things to do around Ubud.
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