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The first time I went to The Garden, I knew I had stumbled across a special kindergarten. It is rare to find a kindy with such a gorgeous campus, and that you immediately fall in love with upon seeing for the first time. But that is exactly what happened to me when I met The Garden.

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Bali doesn’t have many big grassy areas for kids to run around, especially one so centrally located. The grounds at The Garden are a great size with more than enough space for all the kids to run free. They also have plenty of shade which the little ‘uns need in such a hot and sunny climate. There is a tree house with a slide, and a tunnel with a grassy hill above it to climb up. A little orchard cave and a hidden sidewalk with plants growing on both sides complete the fairy tale. There are even chickens and rabbits!




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With a place dedicated to creating big messes called The Mud Kitchen - really the name says it all – this kindy is heaven for active kids who love exploring.  The garden also features an undercover stage where the end-of-year performances take place and a separate undercover dining area where the kids have lunch and snacks.



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The classrooms are spacious, but uncluttered. They all have gorgeous wooden tables and stools. Beautiful fabric rugs, lots of pillows, and a centre rattan peacock-like chair or big sofa chair for the teacher create fun, open learning spaces. The interiors are beautiful and simple. You hardly see any plastic, and the shelving and cupboard space is designed to be kid-friendly and easy to reach. The décor is kept to a minimum for a reason. As the year passes, more and more of the art produced by these budding Picassos is added to the walls. Walls become canvases as they are filled with the artworks, projects and crafts that the kids have created themselves.

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The education is holistic, and most importantly, fun.  The kids learn to grow their own vegetables, how to cook and help in the kitchen, they learn music, drama and plenty of arts and crafts. They learn how to work with their classmates, as well as how to direct their classmates. Basically, it’s a dream kindy! The only thing you need is to live in Bali and have young kids to experience the awesomeness that The Garden has to offer! But if you don’t live in Bali and you are here on a holiday, they even offer a kid’s club (a supervised after school care) where you can drop your kidlets off for a few hours of fun and learning. If you time it right, they have full day holiday camps between terms with lots of activities for kids from 2 to 8 years old to enjoy!

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We visit Charlie Hearn and his architecture studio Inspiral in Kerobokan. Charlie is responsible for the amazing structure of restaurant Merah Putih and the incredible yoga studio The Practice, among others. We have a chat to Charlie on Architecture, creativity and living in Bali.



When did you decide to become an architect?

I think I chose to be an architect as a kid before I even knew what an architect was. I remember hours apon hours of my childhood creating spaces in one form or another, whether they were elaborate camps, treehouses, bedsheet dens, cardboard models or lego creations.


Do you still love it as much as at the beginning of your carrier or even more so now.

My feelings for the profession from the student days, through to high flying city firms to where I am now have swung in all kinds of directions. However, the burning feeling that has remained consistent is the love of creating, exploring ideas and seeing them through. I am so grateful to be in a situation expressing this passion while supporting my lifestyle. 


What inspire you to design and create?

I get a real kick out of discovering, learning or exploring different realms in the design process with the ultimate goal of creating a positive effect on the users overall well being.






Do you have another creative outlet?

I have many from the strands that come from being an architect whether its designing furniture, to creating artworks, developing graphics, animations etc etc. However I think the biggest creative outlet comes from just trying to live our lives! This constantly evolving and changing journey we are on requires us to refresh ideas, learn new techniques and be open to alternate ways of dealing with it. Creativity here is the difference between being human and humanoid.   


In general do the clients come to an idea of what they want or do you develop the whole concept?

Every client and every project is different. The most successful ones are those where the client is clear on some key main issues. What is it they want to build in terms of function and requirements. What they want to achieve. The feelings they wish to evoke and who they want to use the space, as well as being realistic on times and budget. Then we in turn take these all on board and come up with ideas and solutions. Along the way, contributions that add strength to the concept can come from anyone. Sometimes it may be from the client, other times it may come from someone who could be considered a complete lay person. I've had ideas given from a rough and ready worker on site, or from a wacky conversation with friends. I often get wonderful insights from children. 


How does it compare to be an architect in Bali to being an architect overseas? Anything you need to take into account here than you wouldn’t have to think about overseas or vice versa?

It really is a world away. There are so many more factors to consider from the culture, the climate, and situations that arise which outside Indonesia would seem completely inexplicable. Since being here Ive had huge lessons on acceptance, flexibility and diffusing situations. Ive also dramatically improved being able to think on my feet and to read the signals. The knowledge base is also much different so checking, instructions and methods need to be consistently monitored. You can never take ‘yes’ for an answer here.  



What brought you to Bali?

I feel like Bali brought me. The name, the place kept coming to me in conversations, or I’d flick open a random magazine and Bali would appear. This was happening at a time when I was about to go through a new phase of my life, and it fitted my need for a sense of adventure and longing for a more enriching lifestyle.


Does living in Bali play a big factor in your design process? 

I think there is definitely a buzz here like no other that one can tap into and ideas can just flow right into you. Anything can be made here and the possibilities feel like they can really happen if you put your energy into it.   


What do you love about Bali?

Theres so much, but mostly its the people, their heritage, their customs and especially their utterly infectious smiles. 


Any exciting projects on the pipeline?

Yes we have about nine projects running at the moment. These include a spa in town which will shine like an emerald on the outside and resonate on the inside, about to re open in the next 4 months. We have a luxury off grid eco resort in Flores ready to start building in the new year, plus a very creative residential complex and clubhouse in Makassar under construction. Never a dull moment.

THE PRACTICE Yoga studio by Inspiral

MERAH PUTIH by Inspiral




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Wether you are into Yoga or not, you need to visit The Practice. If you are into Yoga, well you may never want to go to any other yoga school again.
Upon entering the studio you are greeted by a very friendly receptionist and encounter a set of living room spaces that are more like a 5 star resort than a yoga school. You are welcome to have some water in this space while you wait for your yoga class or if you want to continue that post-yoga bliss, you can sit down on one of the many bean bags that overlook the rice paddies and have a cup of tea.

I have been to many yoga schools in Bali, Australia, Argentina, India, Thailand but I have never been to one like The Practice. Usually the yoga studios are small, cramped four-walled rooms that soon get hot and sweaty. 

The Practice’s two yoga rooms couldn’t be more different.
The ceilings and rooftop of The Practice are inspired by the traditional hats that the rice farmers wear, and a quick glance upward confirms this.

The upstairs room is huge, all open and the front curves reveal an amazing view of the rice paddies. I thought, how is this going to work in the Balinese heat? Is it going to be too hot? Yet, amazingly, it works – a divine breeze flows in from the rice fields and the heat simply vanishes.

There is an attention to detail in everything and everywhere you look. 

The staircase is made of bamboo and plays with light and shadow creating a sense of excitement and mystery as it curves upwards.

Even the shelves storing the mats, bolsters and bricks are simple but elegant. The mats, usually dingy, tattered and old in most yoga studios, are surprisingly earthy and beautiful.
The owners of The Practice really thought of everything. And on top of all that beauty, the yoga is incredible.



Jalan Batu Bolong #94A, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
Ph: +6281236702160