In 2001, American sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term 'third places'—these are not the home (the first place) or work (the second place) but a third place or space the community can gather to connect with one another. Oldenburg highlighted the importance of these 'third places' in the rapidly urbanised and online landscape we find ourselves living in, believing they are a solution to the isolation many feel in modern times. It was this concept that inspired the three co-founders—Roberto Aria Putra, Ayip Budiman and William Sutiyoso—to embark on a journey to create a 'third place' for all of Bali's community.
The site selected for this space was an old travel agent on Jalan Danau Poso in Sanur—a traditional Balinese-style building that had stood empty for quite a time. One of the first things the co-founders did was to bring in one of Bali's most ingenious architects, Yoko Sara, to share their vision and have Yoka and his team respond to the space. Yoka envisaged a contemporary, yet warm space that the community could make its mark on, created using upcycled materials. The co-founders and Yoka went scouring through shipping yards to source the materials needed to design the space. The process of then stripping the old traditional building of its small, pokey offices while retaining its Balinese charm began in November 2014. Over the next 7 months, the space was completely transformed—a Stonehenge-like structure made of a ship's disused water tanks was installed, ship stairs connect the first and second levels, while piping and wood from the shipping yard went into make installations and furniture. You can still get a strong sense of the building material's origins when you visit the space. A giant Kapuk tree was brought in and placed at the entrance to the building, this tree symbolises fertility and now proudly stands as a giant welcoming beacon on Jalan Danau Poso.
Rumah Sanur - Creative Hub was officially opened in June 2015. Inline with the co-founder's vision of fostering Indonesian makers and creatives Rumah Sanur nurtured two start-up businesses—Kopi Kultur, a coffee shop that works directly with Indonesian coffee farmers and To~Ko Concept Store, a store that presents designs by small-to-medium enterprises from across Indonesia with a focus on sustainability and upcycling. Over time Teras Gandum, the Bali Export & Development Organisation, Rudolf Dethu Showbiz and Chris the Barber joined the Rumah Sanur family.
Committed to providing skills and creative development opportunities for Bali's community, Rumah Sanur offers a range of workshops and talks throughout the year led by local and international artists and thinkers. Specialist programs like MASABOCA Design Bootcamp, Olah Limbah Reka Kreasi (Creative Upcycling) and the Differently Abled Workshops—aimed at upskilling the diffabilty community—take place throughout the year. An inclusive space, Rumah Sanur underwent renovations in 2017 to become more accessibility-friendly with the inclusion of a dedicated parking space, a ramp up to the main space and diffability-friendly toilets.
During the day you will find waves of people stopping in for coffee, having meetings or working away in the main space. A true community hub, you never quite know what you'll find going on at Rumah Sanur from one day to the next—from Balinese Dance Classes (starting soon!) to children's workshops, vintage markets or coffee tastings. Rumah Sanur also houses big meeting rooms that the community hire out for a range of conferences, presentations, screenings and roundtable discussions.
By night Rumah Sanur changes gear with live, street-side music most nights of the week under the big Kepuk tree. On Sunday night there is world music by Krisna Floop, on Monday it's blues music with Kim Patra, Tuesday night welcomes the island's jazz community with Jazz Under the Tree, Wednesday is all about soul with Soulfood Music, and Thursdays have a more contemporary feel with some of Bali's hottest young bands. Rumah Sanur is proud to provide a platform for the island's emerging musicians and also encourages musicians of all levels to get up and jam.
Throughout the day and night, Rumah Sanur's Kitchen serves-up a variety of tasty eats, from Indonesian favourites to western treats—the most popular dish is the Lawar Gurita (octopus), one of the oldest culinary dishes from Banjar Semawang, Sanur. Teras Gandum keeps the drinks flowing with local and craft beers, wine and house cocktails like passionfruit and rosemary infused vodka and jamu cocktails.
From humble beginnings, Rumah Sanur now presents over 400+ events per year, including workshops, film screenings, large-scale concerts, exhibitions, performances and markets. In 2018, Rumah Sanur saw 6,500+ people come through its doors, so wherever you are from, or whatever your interests are Rumah Sanur invites you to come and connect, collaborate and celebrate!
Words by Summa Durie
Photos by Prastiko Destamto & Dodik Cahyendra