Tao Collection – A store with soul
Even though Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali and there is loads of shopping to be had in it, it didn’t have many beautiful interiors and homewares shops. In the past, when people had asked me where to go for interiors shopping in Ubud, I would struggle to tell them where to visit….. but not anymore!
Bali is very small, so no matter which industry you are in, there is a high likelihood that after a couple of years, you’ll end up meeting everyone.
One person I met quite early on was Silvia. When I first moved to Bali, my dad (who lived in Argentina and has since passed away) told me that a work acquaintance of his from Buenos Aires had moved to Bali. He didn’t know her well, but he gave me her email and told me not much more than that. I wrote to Silvia, and found out that while she lived in Ubud, she frequently came to Canggu for work. We met, and although there is a big age difference between us, we were quickly became extremely close friends. So much so, that she is the architect of my soon-to-be-built house.
Silvia is a very experienced architect/interior designer who has worked in a variety of countries. She told me that she had opened her own homewares store in Ubud and I should come and visit. So, I did.
I think we have all had the experience that sometimes when friends and family embark on new projects, it’s hard to know if your enthusiasm for their project is due to the merits of the project, or your relationship with your friend.
The day I went to see the store I was in Ubud doing a shoot. When I finished, I popped over to Silvia’s store for a quick hello and to see the final result. Sylvia is a humble person, so she always downplayed her store and her talent. I really didn’t know what to expect.
Was I impressed? I was gobsmacked! Her store is BEAUTIFUL! From the interior design of the store and the range of furniture and homewares to the exquisite selection of antiques. WOW! The art she had chosen to exhibit on the walls and window display was all utterly gorgeous. Of course, as I had all of my camera gear with me, I decided to shoot her store right then and there. I was in love with everything she had for sale but also the objects and homewares she had chosen. Even the crockery and glasses were different but tasteful. I’m not even sure where she got all these things! After being in Bali for a while, you tend to see the same things over and over again. So, to have unusual and never-before-seen homewares in a shop is both very rare and utterly exhilarating!
While I was in Tao Collection, I had this strong feeling that my dad, who was also an architect and interior designer, would have adored this store. He loved interiors, objects and architecture. I grew up going to art galleries and beautiful homeware and furniture stores. It’s easy to see where I get my love for all things design! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
While I was doing my thing, snapping away and beguiled by so much beauty around me, I was swept away with this overwhelming feeling that my dad was present in that moment with me. I felt he was seeing what I was seeing through me. I could almost hear him whispering in my ear about all the beautiful things to photograph. Pointing them out, one by one. I could picture him narrating the different textures, objects, and interior details to me. Out of the blue, Silvia looks at me and says, “Isn’t it crazy that your father got us together?”. I literally started to cry. Sometimes, the universe is simply wonderful.
I looked up at Silvia and told her that my father would have gone crazy over her store. He lived for interiors and design, and this store has it all and so much more. It has a soul.
Words and Photography by Sheila Man