The Dharmawangsa Hotel, Jakarta was born out of the dream to create a hotel property that would complement the residential area of Kebayoran Baru in terms of architecture, scale and utility. It needed to fit in style and philosophy to its environment; to be uniquely Indonesian in character. This property would exemplify the Indonesian aspiration to be thoroughly modern but very Indonesian at the same time. Key elements guided every aspect: Luxury expressed by understated elegance, grandness expressed by humility of the spirit and, the carefully thought out facets of scale and balance. The result is in the freshness that blossoms spontaneously and a thorough absence of pretensions.
The architecture was thus conceived as a new and contemporary interpretation of 1950s Kebayoran Baru, which in turn was, at that period, an interpretation of 1920s Jakarta. Here, is a matched set of buildings that are indigenous to the site. Together they form a tropical oasis of green and alabaster; a far cry from the chaos of commercial and westernized Jakarta yet only 10 minutes away from its financial hub. The scale employed throughout is of residential proportion, not at all like a city hotel, the organization of spaces totally domestic.
Dharmawangsa was an 11th century Hindu King from East Java. It was he who laid the foundations of the great empire of Majapahit, credited with ushering in the Golden Age of Java. This was when the country gloried in political prowess, civilization, art and culture.
The interior design of The Dharmawangsa is a tribute to the extraordinary artistic achievements of Majapahit culture. The designers in the decorative wall lights and ceiling fixtures reinterpret Surya Majapahit, a recurring theme used by virtually all tribes throughout the Indonesian archipelago. It reappears in the shape of the successive yellow marble disks inserted in the floor to reflect the progress of the Surya (a Sanskrit word for the sun) across the sky and more subtly in the design of carpets, furnishings and decorations.
Against the grand scale of the Lounges of The Dharmawangsa emphasized by the designers with cornice designs of ethnic patterns, silk panels of subdued colors in one room and rich vibrant hues in another, are ordinary domestic artifacts. Contrasting in context but all equally important and equally grand in their ordinariness.
The choice of the name was not by serendipity although the hotel happens to be located near Dharmawangsa Street. For just as King Dharmawangsa laid the foundation to the great Empire of Majapahit, so too is The Dharmawangsa designed by all who were involved in this project, to highlight the great future of Indonesia and perhaps the beginning of a new Golden Period.
From the very moment of its conception, The Dharmawangsa is designed to allow the artful mixture of business and pleasure at the highest standard of Indonesian hospitality. This design concept is a reflection of the developers interpretation in addressing the needs of the most discerning and discriminating business traveler.
Active interaction between owners Bina Puri Lestari, represented by Reni Dahlan and Zulfitri, and a young Malaysian architect named Cheong Yew Kuan, produced the design criteria and a solid conceptual product. Bina Puri Lestari then engaged Don Sandy from Sandy Babcock International of San Francisco and Miami to transform the concept into a master plan and basic architectural design.
Jasin Tedjasukmana an expert in Dutch Colonial style architecture was then engaged to create the final product. For the hotel, he opted for a design both distinguished and breathtakingly beautiful in terms of art and space. Jaya Ibrahim, a prominent interior designer, was next appointed to deliver a contemporary product of traditional design in the spirit of Indonesia: sequence, shape, color and space, intertwined with art, and set amidst the fragrance of the tropical gardens and sounds of flowing water, the ultimate symbol of prosperity.
The most important objective of the development was to deliver a residential feel within the property. The whole atmosphere and setting needed to be consistent with how Indonesians live and work today: the unique quality of life, comfort and expectations. As in traditional houses, there is a distinctive sequence in the design of the hotel interior, starting from the composition of linked spaces: a front verandah, a central room and a back verandah. Each possessing its own specific volume and special character. All three formed as a complete singular entity.