November 28, 2008

From Kunstkring to Buddha Bar - by Pradaningrum Mijarto

This Ex-Immigration building at the corner of Cut Nyak Dien street and Teuku Umar street, Menteng, Central Jakarta, will become Buddha Bar, a concept of restaurant which is brought by Raymond Visan from France.

Translated from, Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dastin Hillery, Suci Mayang Sari, and Agus Surja Sadana, noted as the top three winner of the contest of the usage and management of heritage building concept, in this case the ex-immigration building or known as Kunstkring Building at the corner of Cut Nyak Dien street and Teuku Umar street. That was year 2003. Now that name maybe has forgotten.

Dastin, the first winner, suggest to use the building as a Jakarta art union, suit as its function at the past. The ground floor of this 2 floors building was suggested to use as a main showroom. While the 2nd floor was suggested to use as a public lecture room, talk show, discussion forum, including art book and architecture store.

Mayang Sari, the second winner, suggest to use the building as a Jakarta architecture art community. While Agus Sadana, the third winner, suggest to use the building as a past nuance restaurant.

After neglected for some time, now the building designed by PAJ Moojen ready to beating again. It will become
Buddha Bar, a restaurant concept which is brought by Raymond Visan from France. This bar will manage by PT Nireta Vista Creative (PT NVC) for 5 years. This is the first time for a heritage building restored and re-function under management from private party.

The owner of this building is still Jakarta Government of course. Setia Gunawan, Kasubdis (Head of sub-agency) of Official Jakarta Culture & Museum Service said the rent price is about Rp 4 billion for 5 years or Rp 800 million/year.

Besides Buddha Bar, management kept some space for picture gallery which is on the first floor in the front area. The rest is for restaurant and lounge. Governor of Jakarta, Fauzi Bowo, scheduled to officially open the new place at November 28, 2008.

Art Appreciation

In the book
Menteng, Kota Taman Pertama di Indonesia by Adolf Heuken, the 2 tower building is a form of the beginning of Indonesia architecture history. Originally the building owned by Nederlandsch Indische Kunstkring (Nederland Art Circle / Lingkar Seni Hindia Belanda), a club that rise Batavia people's appreciation to the art.

The building was built in 1913, after NV De Bouwpleg donated a piece of land in 1912. It was said in that book that for a decade rent money from
Stam en Weyns restaurant, which was using the first floor, used to paid off the debt.

This place was held to painting exhibition, music concert, and lecture. There was also a library filled with books about art. A museum containing art works from Van Gogh and Picasso, borrowed from Europe museums, was opened here in 1936. Also a picture exhibition about Oud Batavia was held here.

From Warta Kota's record, in 1993, this ex-Immigration building, that was priced Rp 9 billion at that time, was exchanged
(ruilslag) with a PT Mandala Griya Cipta (MGC) building owned by Tommy Soeharto. As a compensation, a new office at Kemayoran was given to Justice Department.

Later at about 1999, the condition of this law protected and A-classification building was very messy and poor. Windows, doors, frames were disappeared. Iron-sheeting fence covered around the building. In year 2002, Jakarta government bought back this building. A year later a contest was held and a restoration was beginning.

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