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 upon 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 inspired 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 user’s 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, creating artworks, developing graphics, animations, 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 alternative 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 do 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 layperson. 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 I’ve had huge lessons on acceptance, flexibility and diffusing situations. I’ve 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?
There’s so much, but mostly it’s 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 that will shine like an emerald on the outside and resonate on the inside, about to reopen 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