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Creating Aesthetic Connections

Principle of Architecture Hamphrey Tedja and Santi Alaysius on the Importance of Design 

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Domisilium Studio


In this month’s issue of Architecture and Design, The Peak sat down with Hamphrey Tedja and Santi Alaysius, the founders of Domisilium Studio, who are well recognised for designing some of the trendiest venues in Indonesia from the Marriott Yogyakarta, Bar At The Rooftop at the Artotel Jakarta to the Kosenda Hotel, as well as GoJek Headquarter.

Established a decade ago, Domisilium Studio has a wide range of expertise in architecture and interior design for hospitality, high-end residential, and commercial projects. Both of the principles were educated in the same city of Chicago. Hamphrey studied architecture at The Illinois Institute of Technology and Santi studied interior design at The Illinois Institute of Art. Together, their portfolio of projects ranging from Singapore, the United States, and Indonesia.

Tell us about the establishment of Domisilium Studio
DS: Domisilium Studio was established by two friends who happened to find themselves back home (Jakarta) after many years living and working abroad. We figured it was all premeditated that we should work together. We started off collaborating on a few small projects and slowly working our ways to bigger projects after finding compatibility and ease working together.

How do you define Domisilium Studio
DS: Domisilium Studio a workplace where we can harness creative energy and soul and pour it into projects. As the name suggests, our design philosophy is engrained in the name of the firm. Domisilium, derived from Domicilium, is a way for us to convey an expression or feeling of home-likeness in our projects – be it a hotel or office.

What is like partnering with another creative mind and Principal of Architecture at Domisilium Studio?
DS: We are fortunate that we help balance each other for the most part. You can say we’re more attuned to each other’s work synergy. Santi is wild in imaginations and has a knack for finding beauty in unexpected items and clever in juxtapose of interior elements. Hamphrey is responsible for creating that architectural space that house the interior elements. Sharing similar taste and having a similar vision definitely helped in the long run.

Which project by Domisilium Studio do you consider the most interesting and why?
DS: That’s a tough call. Our first design of Marriott Hotel Yogyakarta, the first five-star Marriott brand in Indonesia. It was one o
f our biggest projects by far and one of the most compelling and challenging. Our first hotel project together outside of the US, Kosenda Hotel, came to mind as well. Perhaps it is our first hospitality project in Indonesia and it is a hotel that allows us to be extremely creative in finding solutions to designing a small hotel with a big design impact in the city.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Domisilium Studio

How did you approach this project?
DS: The design process was quite arduous for Marriott. The study of Yogyakarta city, infusing cultural identity and its architecture into our design so as to create harmony between materials, shapes and forms. This, in turn, forges that mood of Marriott Hotel branding created solely for Yogyakarta. With Kosenda Hotel, designing of the hotel was fluid. We cannot adhere to the standard hotel guideline, instead creating a unique experience and guideline of this design hotel that is exclusively to this brand. Many collaborations amongst other creatives were encouraged here and we act as the conductor to the orchestra for this project.


How do you measure success with clients?
DS: For the most part our success with clients happened along the journey of the project. We love to join forces in creating a project with the clients and it shows that the design can be better with two heads than one.

Good design is many things, what elements do you feel underpin good design?
DS: Good design will ease clientèle’s use of the end product, it should be durable in terms of receiving wear and tear, do as it is purposed, and of course aesthetically pleasing.

Which one aspect of design do you give the highest priority?
DS: We believe in doing thorough research prior to designing. This builds the basic foundation or the core story for the project. We had good advice from one of our mentors, that a project’s brand is there so it makes sense on how the brand generates income in return. We have typically approached each project in that manner that we are not designing for ourselves but for the particular brand. Ego aside, it will make a great project and it tells a story to how each design came to be.

How has your approach to architecture and interior design changed over the years?
DS: technology has greatly influenced how people have used the space. It has changed the industry to be more technology driven, to accommodate consumer’s needs. It is also not long before people start to be conscious about using energy and resources in a much more environmentally friendly and considerate manner.

What do you feel are the greatest challenges for today’s architect and interior designer?
DS: Does lack of sleep counts as one of the great feats that we have to overcome?

What next for Domisilium Studio?
H: We are doing several hotels and ballrooms around Indonesia. It is an exciting time to be in the industry. On top of that, we will be publishing our 10 year anniversary book this year. A baby leap in our career. It will be an intimate insight into our studio and the story behind our work.

What is your take on pushing ideas and innovation
DS: Ideas and innovations can go so far unless your clients are in it for the ride as well. But when you do find that magic chemistry, it’ll be a great project.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Indonesian designers
DS: We don’t believe that a designer’s job should be just behind the desk. We encourage our studio to travel around locally and internationally. There are so many wonderful inspirations to draw from our beautiful country alone.