For the first time in Asia, the high-end European furnishing and decor show, Maison & Objet will debut at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre this March. Apart from showcasing the best of the décor world, it will also feature elements like the Designer of the Year, Interior Design & Lifestyle Summit and Rising Asian Talents. Identified as one of the six rising talents in Asia is the Indonesian star furniture designer, Denny R Priyatna.

Jakarta-based Denny, a graduate from the Bandung Institute of Technology designs furniture, lighting, tableware, home decorations and consumer goods. Denny’s designs are known to intentionally blur the line between the animate and the inanimate and they frequently merge the old with the new. The young designer has accumulated multiple awards for his work. Notable among these are the Singapore Furniture Design Award (2013), the Bravacasa Indonesia Design Challenge award (2012) and the Eco Mobility World Festival Video Contest (2013). He has also been a Runner Up for the Mookum & I-Materialise Award (2012) and a Finalist for the Black Innovation Award (2012). His award-wining product, titled the ‘Exploded Chair,’ attempted to depict the process of turning raw materials into a final product. Another product, the ‘J Low Chair’ was inspired by the Indonesian traditions and the ‘Aksara Wall Clock’ showcased the originality of the Indonesian script.

Denny, being a new designer, prefers to follow his “intuition” rather than hastily deciding on a signature style. His priority, he says, is to break his own boundaries and gain knowledge “without any limitation.” Though culture and society inspire his art to a considerable extent, he believes that the “emotional relationship between human and inanimate object” remains his main influence. “It is always interesting to see how humans communicate with inanimate objects,” he says, “like a child talking to his toys as if they are real.” He hopes that his creations would also communicate with people in “this way.” He hopes that his products, apart from functioning as tools required for an activity, would also be a means of facilitating a communication, which according to him, occurs when users acknowledge the thought behind the designs they use.

The twenty- four-year-old designer likes to travel. When not designing, Denny also enjoys playing music and finding “new places to waste time- especially the coffee shops.” Jakarta, according to him has some “beautiful and peaceful places,” in spite of being a busy city. These places help him to relax and serve as his inspiration. Since his work is equally inspired by the Indonesian culture, he frequently alludes to the customs and traditions of Indonesia. Finding the ‘connection’ with the other Asian designers, Denny feels that though the Asian countries have their own “culture-influenced characteristics,” there is a string that connects one country to another. Asia, he feels, has a strong tradition of craftsmanship, which puts it in an advantageous position.

It is always interesting to see how humans communicate with inanimate objects, like a child talking to his toys as if they are real.

Likening the current designing scene in Indonesia to a “Guerrilla Movement,” Denny says there are too many diverse design-related events running there independently. “But it’s just a matter of time,” he then adds, “When this (very) diversity will unite us all.”

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