Studio Hiji is a furniture design studio founded by Abie Abdillah in Jakarta. Abie works mainly with rattan, one of the most important sources of Indonesia. He represents the new generation of young designers that shifted the design production of rattan from foreign-based design to local Indonesians designers. I liked to work barefoot in his studio in Bintaro, a creative area of Jakarta.
Matteo: Hello Abie,
Abie: Hey Matteo!
M: How did your interest for design started?
A: My interests in design, started early from my constant doodling & drawing since I was a little boy, later when I enrolled in industrial major at ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology), I realized that design in Indonesia could bring significant impact if we are able to worked with our material resources as well as the craftsmen
M: What does Hiji mean?
A: Hiji is a words from Sunda (one of the ethnic in Indonesia that means "one"). From this philosophy we would like to share that each piece that we are created are a results of a meticulous process.
M: Why rattan?
A: Indonesia is has the potential of 80% of raw materials of rattan for world supply, it is a unique sustainable materials that are still being taken for granted, people think them as a cheap materials and such, and we do hope that we could consistently do something with it and give benefit on the society involved and related with the materials.
“..in the past ten years there are increasing interests of designers, companies, that works with rattan..”
M: Do you think that young indonesian designers realize the importance of rattan in your culture?
A: I do believe so, in the past ten years there are increasing interests of designers, companies, that works with rattan, it is challenging though, we need to understand the material character & process to be able to create a fine object out of it.
M: If Indonesia produce 80% of world wide rattan production, why is not so common to see rattan furniture around?
“here in Indonesia, most of the people still thinks rattan as outdated, cheap, poor quality products..”A: Because the competition & factors are too much, we could not compete with the plastic/ synthetic one in terms of prices, functionality, availability, etc. And we have other competitors too (wooden, metal, upholstery furniture, etc). The quality of production, the price, are also important. But in my opinion, the main foe is actually the mindset itself, here in Indonesia, most of the people still thinks rattan as outdated, cheap, poor quality products. And it is difficult to switch their mindset on the options of better quality rattan furniture. They would rather spend 200-300 € of teak/ upholstery furniture rather than fine quality rattan with the same price.