Bali-based luxury jewellery brand John Hardy highlights Indonesian heritage and artisanship at its immersive boutique and gallery in Seminyak.
It has been 46 years since a Canadian art student found his way to Bali, fell in love with the island and its time - honoured jewellery making tradition, and decided to establish an artisan collective.
The student’s name was John Hardy and he arrived just in time to meet the old master artisans who made jewellery for the late kings and queens of Bali. The silver and goldsmiths drew their inspirations from ancient myths, legends, nature, symbolism and cultural motifs. Applying different techniques – from granulation to weaving – each piece that they crafted was delicately made with simple tools such as hammers, foot pumped bellows and scissors. It was a testament of Balinese savoir - faire, a craftsmanship that has been passed from generation to generation.
Fast forward several decades later, John Hardy is now synonymous with a luxury jewellery brand from the island of Bali. But, if one visits its workshop in Mambal, one can witness that nothing barely changed about the craftsmanship. The silver and gold links are still woven by hand. Hand-hammering and carving are still meticulously done one by one. And, despite the digital age, the jewellery designers are still developing their pieces through sketching and water colour illustrations.
Weaving modern innovations with traditional processes, each piece of jewellery is made to last, devoid of fad and speak volumes about its provenance. Apart from the modern clasp, coil and kick cuff on the jewellery pieces, John Hardy’s design is a tribute to the design of the old masters.
John Hardy only uses 100 percent reclaimed metal as certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council. It is also being compliant to Kimberley Process, ensuring collectors that the stones, diamonds and metals on their rings or pendants are conflict-free and ethically sourced.
With boutiques in New York and Hong Kong as well as an online shop, John Hardy’s production in Bali continues to run. “Under strict health and safety protocols, our workshop of 600 designers and artisans continue to create. It is a blessing that under the circumstances, we are still able to make art,” explains Polly Purser, John Hardy’s director of heritage and brand management.
With a career spanning over 18 years with John Hardy, Purser is overseeing the brand’s heritage, history and connection with the locale. Her touch is evident on the collection’s narrative, marketing campaign, community outreach and many more. “John Hardy is deeply rooted in Bali. This brand will never be what it is without the island, its culture and community,” says Purser.
This connection can be found on the brand’s latest Fall 2021 Collection. Under the iconic Classic Chai, John Hardy presents Reticulated, Radial and Rata collections. “The current collection is about acknowledging our root and have a strong tie-back to the company’s design DNA. The collections are relevant, versatile and transformative – echoing our current situation where changes and uncertainties are bound to happen,” tells Purser.
Reticulated brings traditional metal smithing technique forward through its oxidised finish and raw, distressed texture. Meanwhile, Radial is a nine-piece collection that derives its inspiration from the Mandala (a circular spiritual symbol) and its vital energy. Created through a hand done wax carving process that takes up to 12 hours, each piece is made with reclaimed silver featuring black gemstone halos, studs of pyrite and an artful take on negative space. A heritage revival collection, Rata is all about subtle twists and understated braided details, both minimal and monumental. All collections are available for men’s and women’s interpretations.
AN ODE TO INDONESIA
In an attempt to celebrate, preserve and showcase the best of Indonesia through jewellery collection, curated artisanal goods, art, architecture, design, food, and even drinks, John Hardy Boutique & Gallery at Seminyak offers an immersive experience to its visitors.
Inspired by Balinese village architecture, a red brick bale kulkul with its sounding bell greets one at the entrance. The brand’s reverence for the island’s heritage can soon be seen on its architectural elements, from handmade local brick to bamboo shingles. The creative sanctuary is an oasis of respite amid the cosmopolitan hubbub of Seminyak.
Housed in a 4,800 square metres building, the journey starts at the boutique. Gamelan sound from The Game latron, a kinetic sculpture and stand-alone art works by Aaron Taylor Kuffner fills the airy space with its gentle rhythm as one browses through the jewellery collections.
Visitors are more than welcome to try their hands on the chain-weaving process, guided by John Hardy’s own artisans. There are exquisite sketches, black-and-white photographs, wax carvings, and artefacts that show visitors of the intricately long process on how a piece of jewellery is created. Classic collections such as Naga, Lahar and the timeless Classic Chain are beautifully displayed, interspersed with indigo-dyed ikat textiles, ceramic vases and antiques.
The archipelago’s traditional herbal concoction is eminently featured at The Jamu Bar. Manned by mixologist Joko Pratomo, the open-air terrace bar overlooks the sprawling green lawn and majestic candi bentar gateway on the compound. “Ours is an apothecary bar. The cocktails and mocktails are made from local herbs, spices, fruits, and even flowers,” explains Pratomo. Jamu-inspired cocktails menu ranged from a lighter flavoured Loloh Cem-Cem to fuller flavoured Jamu Kunyit Asam. The latter is made from tamarind, turmeric, syrup, lime juice, and dry gin. Snacks are available at the bar but for a heartier treat, visitors can also go downstairs to feast at The Long Table.
For more than 30 years, John Hardy Workshop & Kapal Bambu Boutique in Mambal have been hosting the Long Table Lunch tradition where artisans, employees as well as visitors sit down and share a meal together. The Long Table in Seminyak offers the same experience, albeit in a smaller arrangement and by appointment only.
The kitchen is led by chef Tomy Saputra and the dining menu is made of evolving Indonesian dishes. Locally sourced from farmers, fishermen and slow food artisans, visitors can savour various flavours from the archipelago in one seating.
Made to share, savour dishes such as Manadonese Cakalang Asap (stir-fry smoked mackerel with turmeric leaves, leek, chillies, garlic and kemangi leaves), Balinese Lawar Klungah (young coconut, long beans, Balinese all-spice, kaffir lime leaves and shallots) and cooked in clay on a wood-fire grill Ayam Kampung Tanah. To end the meal in a sweet and refreshing note, Es Campur is served table-side and one is encouraged to heap on the shaved ice with various toppings. A visit to John Hardy Boutique & Gallery at Seminyak is truly a feast for the senses.
To learn more about John Hardy, go to www.johnhardy.com