“Architecture wrote the history of the epochs and gave them their names.”
_Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe_
Located within the old town area of Bandung, de Braga by Artotel is a boutique hotel sharing the same location where a famous Dutch fashion outlet used to open.
Project Name: De Braga Hotel
Studio Name: UNA Architects
TYPE: Hotel & Resorts
AREA SIZE: 8000 Sqm
DESIGN STYLE: Art Deco
ARCHITECT / DESIGNER: PT. Atelier Una Indonesia
CONTRACTOR: PT Wijaya Karya Persero
PHOTOGRAPHER: PT. Atelier Una Indonesia
Photo credit: Marcelinus Sugiarto
The Historic Fashion Outlet
Back in the days, Braga Street in Bandung was famous as a lifestyle center for The Dutch living in Indonesia. Therefore, numerous shops could be found along the Braga Weg (“Weg” is a Dutch word for “street”). One of those shops was Onderling Belang, a department store specialized in fashion items.
Onderling Belang was once the mecca of Dutch fashion with its first outlet already operating on Amsterdam. The Braga store was its second outlet in Indonesia after Mr. K. Van Doodenweerd -the branch manager of the first outlet in Surabaya- decided to open another one in Bandung.
Under H. J. Mm Koh, the Bandung outlet gained significant profit despite the already existing shops, with Au Bon Marche – A French oriented fashion outlet- as its major competitor by the time.
During the 1960s, the store was nationalized by Soekarno -the late first president of Indonesia. As a tribute to Soekarno’s childhood caretaker, the name Onderling Blang was changed to her name: Sarinah with the signage designed according to his own handwriting.
After the independence of Indonesia, the store crumbled over time leaving only parts of the facade still in mint condition. Other parts of the original structure had already heavily deteriorated. The existing heritage building parts need to be preserved nonetheless.
Design Approach – Preservation context
The purpose of the design is to bring back the history so the idea is maintain the original and existing structures (tower, walls and windows). And also revitalize the existing condition of the ex-Sarinah building (repainting, wall strengthening, and other improvements deemed necessary).
Between the old building and the new one, 2 meters distance is given, using transparent connection. In its development plan, the existing Ex-Sarinah area will be used as the Continental Cafe’s outdoor areas.
Other than the parts of existing building itself, in order to respect the strong heritage context of its surroundings, the newly inserted building was carefully designed as “neutral” as possible, with minimum to none intervention to the existing heritage parts.
From the perspective of design, one of the major influence comes from the neighboring West Java Bank/ BJB Bank designed by a Dutch architect who migrated from The Netherlands to The Dutch East Indies, Albert Frederik Aalbers.
Formerly known as DENIS bank, the building is considered as one of Albers’ architectural masterpieces with its streamline art deco style facade dominated by linear elements and solid texture.
Therefore, de Braga Hotel is designed by honoring the architectural masterpiece itself by creating humble elements with basic & neutral colour palette, so that the heritage aspects will stand out more compared to the new building.
In relation with Jalan Braga skyline and the surrounding high-rise buildings (the BJB head office building and the Ibis Styles Hotel), there is an empty space that can be filled by the building’s tower.
And as the BJB building in the north side, the new building’s podium height is set to be the same as the BJB building.
At the perimeter of the hotel’s ground level where the existing heritage part of the old facade stands, lies a semi outdoor cafe. This part is designed as a separate part with the rest of the new building inside to make sure that the construction of the new structure will not affect the old ones.
The former Sarinah fashion outlet is still operating within the hotel area accessible from the lobby as a tribute to the former old function, which also doubles as the hotel’s souvenir shop.
On the podium level of the hotel lies supporting facilities for the hotel like meeting spaces, restaurant, wellness facilities, topped with a swimming pool.
The 11 storey typical floors consist of boutique hotel rooms. Each one of them is designed with custom graphic art by prominent Indonesian graphic artists, making each unit as their own showcase which has become the hotel operator’s signature style.
The output is a contemporary touch of a heritage structure, open for the public to experience the nostalgia of Braga as one fashion epicenter of the old East Indies back in the days.