Willy Kurniawan’s social space in north jakarta connects communities socially in an environment that is set to become all the rage in modern, contemporary living. a first for indonesia, these spaces encompass a complete lifestyle concept.
As one walks into the bright airy space in the mezzanine level of Pluit Village in North Jakarta, one is immediately greeted by a wide, open space. A minimalist area, decorated with contemporary trimmings, one walks through a series of semi-private seating areas, accented by soft lighting. Step outside, and an imitation sidewalk illuminated by natural sunlight pouring in from the glass rooftop holds the visitor in its warm embrace as one ponders such choices as a coffee, a beer, perhaps some flowers for the home, or maybe even beautifying one's nails.
This is Commune Space, a lifestyle concept area that combines a dining and shopping area where visitors can drop by for a multi-faceted experience. Rather than having to drive around town or walk around through sterile mall environments, this large space brings the convenience of everyday living to the customer.
The brain child of Willy Kurniawan, the idea for this space came from his travels to Bangkok where he noticed that visitors – and locals – flocked to the ubiquitous night markets. Although not quite on the same scale, it serves as a lifestyle area that is among the city’s — if not the country’s — first.
On returning from Los Angeles, where he studied Information Technology, he initially joined the family’s line of work, starting from the ground up by selling household essentials. Bitten by the e-commerce bug making its rounds in the early part of this decade, Willy jumped on the bandwagon and founded Odioli, a site that sold lifestyle products. Although the business has since folded, his staff have been reassigned to assist in the running of his current project, Hype, also loosely based on the lifestyle concept.
Purpose built in Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK) in North Jakarta, Hype is a market area that provides facilities for bazaars. “It is the first event organiser that hosts a bazaar exclusively in the building”, Willy tells us. Casually dressed in jeans and a light shirt, he exudes the air of a businessman who aims to deliver the best of the city’s lifestyle in a premier city location. Constructed in 2015, the warehouse once hosted bazaars twice a month (on the first and last weekend). Although the frequency has since been reduced, the space continues to be a success and has hosted many businesses market their products on a smaller scale before taking off to a larger production. “It is modelled after the Thai markets,” Willy says, “but the model is slightly different here because we don’t have as many tourists like Bangkok, so we need to target the local consumers”, he notes. Another thing that sets Hype apart is that everything is handled in house, including the decorations.
Commune Space is his second project and one that combines his interest in food and fashion. Located in Pluit Village Mall, the lifestyle centre, if you will, even has its own access area in front of the lobby area so visitors can climb up directly rather than having to enter via the mall. The first, and only, space of it’s kind, it hosts Le Diliel an Asian bistro with a focus on Indonesian twists to Asian stapes; Beerstock, a bar; Hygge a cafe with locally sourced coffee and related treats; and a Hygge clothing store focusing on fashion for young mothers. While the creation of this space involved a bit of “thinking outside the box” it is an idea that appears to work. With its wide open space and options, it is the ideal place to entertain on the weekend – or whenever – or even, perhaps stop in for a drink or coffee or something stronger, while getting a bit of shopping done too.
In a city besotted by chronic traffic problems, such spaces become vital. A place in the city’s north to congregate. While the creation of this space involved a bit of “thinking outside the box” it is an idea that appears to work.
Not one to rest on success, Willy has branched out from his interest in lifestyle and focus on one of his other interests, technology and the current trend in electronics, news apps and websites. He runs the news sites, papasemar.com which is a collection of human-interest stories, Polka.id which focuses on student news, and InHype, an e-magazine with specially curated features on food and fashion. The sites keep him busy sourcing stories, along with his team, while keeping abuzz of all the latest happenings around the city and the world at large.
In mid September Willy hosted Jakarta Coffee Week in PIK which brought together coffee baristas and coffee bean growers in an event that celebrated Indonesia’s favourite beverage. The event highlighted the city’s coffee culture with displays of various beans and combinations, as well as techniques that would help baristas and others create a more delicious cup of coffee.
Hard work and perseverance are certainly keys to success but Willy offers up another angle. Given some of the early struggles and the plunge that he took, he says it’s much more of a factor of niat (will) and nekat (courage) that will be sure to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs to follow their chosen path - bravely.