A few years ago, on one of John’s regular trips to Sumba, he fell in love with the traditional Sumba houses. He and his daughter, Elora, decided to replicate one using bamboo in Bali in the grounds of Bambu Indah. The final result is spectacular, unlike anything in Bali, and has become a favorite room for the Bambu Indah guests.
Elora Hardy on the design process:
While visiting Sumba once, Dad [John Hardy] and I had the chance to go inside a traditional home. Sitting on mats inside the homes, we felt such a sense of calm and peace. The proportions and layout of the space felt right, like something that could only evolve over the centuries. It was cool and shaded inside, protected from the hot dry Sumba sun, and a bit of breeze flowed through the gaps between the bamboo. The porch was also a wonderful place to be; we sat there with the grandmothers weaving, and small kids tumbled around. Each home followed similar proportions and layout, with the cooking hearth at the center, kitchen to the left, and several low platforms and benches for seating and sleeping. Each had unique features also, with small alcoves extending off the central space, and certain arrangements of bamboo screening, as well as collections of baskets and cow horns. We traveled to Sumba again a few times, and then Putra and Ateng [from the Ibuku team] went to measure the proportions and explore the features and details, ultimately following the traditional proportions quite closely. We replaced the primary wood columns with our structural ‘Petung’ bamboo and sourced the traditional ‘Empel’ bamboo for the walls and floors because of its beautiful form and its tendency to attain a rich patina of shine where touched by human hands. We used our tallest poles to achieve the most dramatic roof height (a bit taller than the traditional, we confess) and used the same bundled thatch technique as is used in Sumba. Within the roof, in place of the traditional grain and textile storage space, we added a loft bedroom with a dramatic skylight extending the length of the roof.