Green Village: wowing the world with bamboo

John Hardy took us on a tour of Green Village, a neighborhood of homes designed and built with an-open-air concept, a rejection of the 4-walls boxes of modern-day home design, and an ingenious and never-ending supply of innovation and ideation using bamboo as the central building material. The creative direction of the Green Village and, indeed, the management of the project, is headed up by John’s daughter, Elora Hardy, who was not available the day we visited, so John graciously toured us around.

We visited 2 homes under construction. Both houses were probably somewhere around the 1 million US Dollars price point, which is entirely reasonable from a US standpoint, in fact you probably couldn’t build them for $1 million in the US. They are built with the buyers 100% in mind. As John showed us around each house, he often mentioned the family, how they lived, who would be in each room, and how they intended to live in it.

Green Village

Homes in Green Village, a project founded by John Hardy and his daughter, Elora Hardy

*update 8/3/13
We received beautiful photos from Elora to share to replace the construction shots we originally took. Enjoy:

A tropical paradise. The pool outside shares the same air as the main house, just a different plane.

This expansive main living area overlooks the valley. It is stunning. Couldn’t help thinking about my 3-year-old as I looked down from such a high place in the trees. John’s response: “If you put your children in a cocoon their whole life, they will never learn self reliance. My kids grew up on cliff sides without barriers, and they never fell…” hmmm. John also mentioned that in one home all of the railings also have a netting attached throughout until the children are old enough to not fall through the railings.

Stairway to Heaven…┬áThe interior spaces are so open they make the home feel huge. But most of these homes are under 2000 sq ft.

I love the little inner cocoons throughout the house, offering private, peaceful solitude when needed.

What a wonderful welcome.

Hmmm, I think I could manage this…

Kitchen area and bathroom basket rooms.

A room with a view

Green Village home under construction

This is one of the original snapshots I took (as is obvious) of a home under construction. Isn’t that incredible? These homes are designed with an open air concept. The bedrooms, however, are designed with louvered doors so that they can be closed off and air conditioned when necessary. I was happy when I learned this.

Green Village home under construction

Another snapshot showing a better understanding of how the bathroom works. No worries, people, you won’t be on display – the toilet areas are enclosed baskets within the structure. The same basket-within-the-space concept is used for closets and cupboard or storage areas.

Green Village home under construction

Here’s John and Aly talking technical stuff about how the foundation works. I understood enough to know it’s incredibly innovative…I’m sure Aly will explain in his blog.

The structures in Green Village are amazing and beautiful and really pushing the boundaries of building methods and materials, which is an element of its intent. The Hardy family is working to change the world for the better by showcasing sustainable design and sustainable peaceful living through beautiful fantastic buildings. John mentioned that during the building process, they do not clear cut anything. In fact, much of the growth that is on site when they begin construction continues to grow around them as they build. In order to realize this dream, they not only have to have incredible vision, but a team of people they trust implicitly, a country with a labor rate that enables them the time to experiment, a demand for luxury sustainability which they cultivate through promoting their message in conferences, TED talks, media promotion, etc, AND raw materials on site – in fact, they farm and harvest their own bamboo and have a facility where they cut and treat the timber for the various building needs (support elements, railing, weaving pieces, etc) and build furniture on site. Basically, it takes dedicating your life to it and hoping your family follows suit to make it happen.

Ubud…sorta like Penland, only not.

Ubud is an artist enclave. The place is practically drowning in master stone carvers, but there is also a healthy number of painters, potters, jewelers and even some glass blowers. On John Hardy’s advice, we went to visit a masterful Raku and ceramics shop called Gaya Ceramic, and a glassblower named Ron Seivertson relocated from California.

Both places were set up as a gallery, production center, and workshop for classes. Both places had the master craftsman and then production teams with varying specialties and skill levels. Both took orders from world brands and participated in exhibits on the world stage. And both were very small unassuming operations where you wouldn’t know any of this unless you asked many questions, which we did.

Gaya Ceramic has an impressive work space filled with soft light. The space made even opaque pottery and ceramic glow from the inside out.

Gaya Ceramic production area

beautiful light of the Gaya Ceramic production area

Gaya Ceramic production area

The light is filtered through a large tent-like ceiling made of what looks like incredibly thick treated canvas

Gaya Cramic

What you may not be able to tell from this picture is that these coffee-cup shapes are actually giant, like 2 feet in diameter

Gaya Ceramic for Donna Karan

These pieces are being shipped to NYC for a Donna Karan collection. They are beautiful and delicate.

Gaya Ceramic production samples

We got a look at the upstairs sample room, which was filled with pieces to order. There were cupboards designated specifically to their top client collections, like Donna Karan, Bvlgari, Armani etc. Seriously, this 4000 sq ft facility that incorporated the gallery, production, stocking and inventory and shipping areas supplies top luxury brands all over the world.

After leaving Gaya, we visited a glass blower named Ron Seivertson. His work is fantastic and some at fantastic prices. We saw one piece that was priced at $3 billion (which, admittedly isn’t as much as all that since the Indonesian currency is at roughly 10,000 to 1 US Dollar, so $300,000). The super duper prices were from a gallery exhibition involving 4 designers who collaborated together, one of which was an archeologist. There were incredible dinosaur heads and “fossils” all made actually of glass…

Ron Seivertson, Dinosaur

Dinosaur head made of blown glass

Ron Seivertson, Horizon Glassworks

There were more traditional approaches to glass works as well, at prices I could handle, except for the toting-a-delicate-object-around-Indonesia-ad-then-home part.

Ron Seivertson, Horizon Glassworks

I especially liked a series of collaborative pieces with a local painter. The basic glass piece would be blown and the painter would paint on top of it, and then a layer of glass would be blown over the top to encase the painting inside the glass.

These places, Horizon Glassworks and Gaya Ceramic, were only 2 of a huge number of artisan workshops in Ubud. You could spend days visiting various artists and weeks taking classes from them. These 2 places, at least, felt very authentic despite being intentionally set up for tourists. We hope to spend more time in the Ubud artisan area and learn more about how artists come to live and work here in the midst of people like us tromping all through their day asking questions and oohing and ahhing all the time.

Read Aly’s take for additional viewpoints on our artisan visits.

It’s wonderful to take a shower outside

I didn’t think I would particularly enjoy the luxe camping element of having private yet outdoor shower, but I was wrong. It was really pleasant, and I didn’t see any wildlife in the shower area until well after I was done and dressed and a large gecko sped down the wall :-)

Anyway, before I move on to new adventures, had to finish the photo story of Bambu Indah, so here you go:

Bambu Indah, Udang House Shower

Outdoor Shower- sort of. There were walls and a ceiling of sorts, and privacy screens so the other houses couldn’t see, but it was still open air, and it was great.

Bambu Indah, Udang House bed

Here is the bed. Each evening, they put the mosquito curtains down. There is a small air conditioner in the ceiling area of the bed. Because the mosquito curtain is more tightly woven than a traditional net, you can keep cool without necessarily cooling the whole room.

Bambu Indah, Udang House

Here is the path to get to our house which is in the background

Bambu Indah pool

Here is the pool, with a few of the house villas around it.

Bambu Indah, Udang House view

The view from our porch

Bambu Indah view

View of the rice fields from the bluff of Bambu Indah.