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Behind the Design: The stories behind Bawah’s beautiful sculpted art

The design of Bawah Reserve was a project of preservation, a lesson of local craftsmanship,
nature-inspired ideas and subtle aesthetics. Though we wanted to keep the resort natural, we also wanted to anchor every major space in the resort with a signature art sculpture – something eye-catching but that also told a story.

Designer Boon Sim said the sculptures had to pass two tests: first, they needed to be
“whimsical and sea-inspired” and second, they must “demonstrate local craftwork.”

So we didn't turn to world-renowned artists or big names in the art industry. No.
Instead, we passed simple sketches to local craftsmen, who used materials they had around
them – wire mesh, ropes, fishing lines and driftwood – to turn our visions into artistic
realities. 

Today, media and guests often comment on the sculptures. So we’re sharing the stories
behind Bawah’s largest and most beautiful sculptures with you here.


1) Jellyfish Chandeliers

Where: Treetops Restaurant

treetops_jellyfish_lights_at_dusk

If you haven’t seen it, Conde Nast Traveller describes this sculpture, like this: “The big
design statements have been saved for the main building, where a swarm of jellyfish
chandeliers are strung across the dining room.” 

The design of Treetops, and its latticed bamboo roof, is a piece of art in itself. Choosing art to
fit within it was a challenge. Boon came up with a simple idea to use the lighting as artwork.

image--101image--103

He drew a sketch of curves and shapes that began to look like a bloom of jellyfish with
requests that the piece be able to move in the wind and create subtle natural sounds.

image--102

A few weeks later, the local craftsmen delivered the sculpture, and the space was transformed.
Boon loved the finished piece so much that he decided to put a smaller version into every
tented beach suite: 

lit_jellyfish_tentacles_light_rattan_fan_on_table_beach_suite_view_out_foliage_lagoon -1


2) Octopus Mesh

Where: Jules Verne Bar

image--122image--123

The Financial Times wrote that our “interiors (are) full of winking references to marine life,
with… a mammoth wire-mesh octopus installation at the Jules Verne bar.”
The article is right; the sculpture in our bespoke cocktail bar is made of wire mesh, a vision
of sea creatures inspired by “2,000 Leagues Under the Sea” brought to life.

The space was rather tricky to navigate, but we succeeded in installing a giant octopus – with its long spindly tentacles dangling from the bamboo roof – with the help of art students at Bandung University.

image--115

The original plan was to create a wood sculpture wrapped in rattan, but when we saw the beautiful metal finish, we couldn’t possibly cover it. The mesh was perfect, and the decision was made to keep it as it was.


3) The Grouper Fish 

Where: Grouper Bar

smiley_males_staff_serving_drink_grouper_bar_table_counter_wine_collection_background

World Travel Magazine said that the Grouper Bar is easily “identified by the giant grouper
sculpture made from driftwood.”
As our main beach bar and meeting point, it was only fitting to use driftwood –
ordinary branches that are transformed into something of great beauty by the power of the
oceans – to decorate this space. During Bawah’s construction, Boon and owner Tim Hartnoll
spent lots of time at Bawah and often bought fresh fish from local fisherman to eat. Boon was
inspired by the shapes of the fish in the fishermen’s basket. He drew a grouper fish, common
to the lagoon, and shared it with an artist in Java.

 

image--109

Within three weeks, a mock-up was created, and this sculpture was commissioned.

image--110

 

 


4) Flying Fish Weather Vane

Where: Bawah Reserve’s jetty #jettygram

close_up_fishes_decoration_centre_of_wooden_jetty
The newest art installation at Bawah is the Flying Fish Weather Vane on the resort’s main
jetty. Designed as something fun to greet arriving guests, the sculpture marks the Y junction
of the jetty and is inspired by the flying fish that weave through the waves in our lagoons.
The sculpture is also a weather vane; it indicates the direction of the wind. Made from
patinated brass metal, each fish is on a pivot and turns with the wind. A simple sketch sent
from Boon to a Javanese village metal worker resulted in this beautiful and practical design.

flying fish accent piece at jetty area

Check out these pretty postcards showcasing our iconic sculpted art: 

 

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Come see these sculptures for yourself. We offer architectural tours of the island to show
these designs in real life.  Make your Bawah Reserve enquiry here: 

 

Start Your Journey

 

 

 

 

 

 

j

 

 

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