The art of smart living

Living in a smart home in Jakarta has never been more artistic

Across from the Ritz-Carlton in Sudirman, Jakarta’s bustling central business district, Brian J. Chen opens the curtains and vitrage with just a single swipe on his iPad.

The 30-year-old entrepreneur and businessman, who founded Your Clinic Group in Indonesia and is also involved in the palm oil industry, has equipped his Pacific Place apartment with a fully automated Crestron smart home system that kicks into action as soon as he commands it to play his favourite music on the Bose sound player.

Designed by local firm PT Integrasi Design Era Arsitektur (IDeA), his three-bedroom, 505-sqm home—completed in June 2013—provides Brian an inviting and relaxing retreat as he takes time off from his various business ventures around the region.

As the co-owner of several nightclubs in Hong Kong, including Privé and Levels, Chen is accustomed to being a gracious host, a role that he loves to play. His luxury apartment features its own wine cellar like his clubs; but unlike the interiors at many of his bars, Chen’s Jakarta residence features classic décor with a high-tech, contemporary twist, designed by Singapore-based Ethospace.

His large living area, comprising the living room and the dining area, is spacious, yet warm and cosy. The earthy hues of the sofa’s fabrics and the mocha shade on the dining chairs are an interesting contrast to the ivory marble flooring that covers the entire space. A Yamaha Disklavier near the balcony also stands out in the sea of off-white.

Subtly separating the two sections of the living area is a reinterpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa by South Korean-born artist Park Seung Mo, whose layering technique in his artwork greatly compliments the fluidity exhibited by the curved walls and ceilings, which appear to have a ‘glazed candy’ look. The finish bounces off daylight and magnifies the mood lighting at night, when he usually entertains his guests after a busy day at work.

Chen adores the ‘futuristic yet modern concept’ of his home, because the art pieces, such as Rainer Lagemann’s installation, the wall colours and automated mood lighting features give exactly the feel and atmosphere that he is used to seeing in the clubbing scene. “For me, light is an important factor when it comes to the ‘feel’ of a home.”

He selects the light, romantic or relax mode for the bedroom, depending on his mood.

“The master bedroom is my favourite,” he says. “It is my sanctuary from the world. It gives me a certain level of comfort.” The luxurious bedroom, which has its own study room, Jacuzzi, a 55-inch television set and lounge area, continues the modern design concept of the whole apartment, but with a subdued palette: one wall is deep black, and it has warm parquet flooring. Another bedroom has an even softer tone, a perfect partner for Hong Viet Dung’s Piece of Mind artwork.

The parquet runs through across the hall to the entertainment room, which looks sufficiently delicious with its chocolate-coloured couches. But it’s the 75-inch television screen that acts as the main centrepiece of the room, which opens up to face the smiling 3D Mona Lisa—always a conversation piece that the young homeowner personally selected.

Chen’s family comes from Singapore and whenever they visit Jakarta, he and his fiancé would supervise the food preparations made by the house staff. His apartment cleverly houses two kitchens: a wet and a dry one—staples in many Asian homes—and he enjoys cooking on weekends during his leisure time.

The black neromarqina surface in the dry kitchen provides yet another reflective canvass for the lights, similar to the sheen of the large, square-shaped, lazy Suzan dining table where his family and friends would eat together and marvel at the beautiful, art-filled and smart Jakarta home that he’s created.


Photos courtesy of Brian J. Chen; Main project liason: Isbandi Hartawan.