Alejandra Cisneros - Flora Natural Villas Architecture
by Rosmariani Manalu, Community Management - Bukit Vista
One of the strengths of a person's work lies in the uniqueness of the work and how its impact and inspires many people. One of them is the work of architect Alejandra Cisneros, with her great creation, namely Flora Natural Villas. Through the inspirational sharing of Bukit Vista C-Talks # 4 on 29 October 2020, Alejandra shared her thoughts, journey, experiences and stories about how she inspired many people through her work.
Alejandra Cisneros is an architect, an '83 UC Berkeley alumnus. She has lived and enjoyed her life in Bali for 17 years. The extraordinary local culture on this island made her fall in love and chose to live and work in Bali, she even sold all her houses in America and moved to Bali.
The early work she did in Bali wasn’t property design like she did in America, she started her career by becoming a clothing designer. Her clothing design business was quite successful at that time, until 2008, her business was quite hit because her regular clients canceled the orders. For a year, no income came in, no clients came back and she was unemployed.
She has a house that has been neglected for a long time, and her manager says that the house is not worth selling in Bali. She didn't know what to do with the house because she didn't have money to renovate it. At an unexpected time, her manager lent her money on the grounds that Alejandra would finish building her house. Then she built her first house with a local concept, synonymous with Balinese culture, a traditional house but still has the function of modernity in every facility provided. From there Alejandra's architectural work began in Bali.
How Bali Island and everything it owns inspired Alejandra to build.
Alejandra is able to bring out the best in the Balinese craftsman and in Bali. She was fascinated by the atmosphere and lifestyle of the Balinese people, such as the local people sleeping with animal noises at night, the hobby of most Balinese people in making local handicrafts, and their simplicity. These things have inspired her to build a house or inn in Bali by adjusting the design to the atmosphere, environment and lifestyle in Bali. She uses her knowledge of local creativity as her capital to design and design distinctive properties.
Through the lodging properties that she has built, Alejandra seems to bring her clients to dive right into the real Bali, and bring them closer to the natural environment of the property. And this has been a memorable experience for his clients to date. This is one of the keys in the construction of a lodging property in a place, where architecture must adapt the design characteristics of the property to the environment and culture in the area where the property is built. How the property blends with the area the property is established and becomes part of the indigenous people of the area.
“This is a lesson for us, that we need to know and learn about the characteristics of the local environment and culture, so we can thinking about the design of the building to be designed.” -Alejandra Cisneros
One of the interesting parts of one of Alejandra's houses is that there are large windows such as doors, so clients don't need to use the air conditioner too often. Alejandra’s projects that really shows her abilities and talents is Flora Natural Villas which consists of 4 complexes, namely Passiflora, Jazmin, Marguerite, and Bareng-Bareng. The projects are located in Penestanan Kaja, a village without cars is set on a hill just west of Ubud.
Why did she name her villas with Flora Natural Villas? Because all the villas and houses she built were really designed like traditional houses blending with the natural environment. So, the property model is completely synonymous with local houses and is environmentally friendly (because there are lots of green trees and plants), but still modern in terms of facilities. Here is a brief description of some of the properties that demonstrate Alejandra's talents:
Passiflora is Alejandra and team's architect designed natural villa 1. It is a 100+ year old hand hewn teak joglo brought timber by timber from central java and remodeled. Passiflora is both traditional and fresh, open and minimal.
Jazmin is their natural designed villa 2 of a 100 year old hand hewn joglo from central java. This property consists of 3 houses with shared swimming pools and manicured gardens. One of the concepts contained in this property is the kitchen overlooking the garden, so you can cook while enjoying the view of the natural green garden.
Marguerite is their architect designed natural villa 3. Marguerite is a remodeled Bali bungalow. This is a two story property loft, in the upstairs it feels like you’re in the jungle. The upstairs and the downstairs both have double beds, which makes marguerite perfect for small families.
Bareng-Bareng is the latest addition to their collection, it is architect designed natural villa 4, bareng-bareng is a reclaimed, repurposed and redesigned limasan from java. A limasan is a traditional javanese house. which was brought over timber by timber from java. it is solid teak that is over 100 years old.
Tiny Tall House
Alenjandra and the team also have a building with a tiny house concept called 'Tiny Tall House', like a Japanese house concept. The house has views of the rice fields, the setting is kind of urban, and designed to knock-down and fit to a shipping container. In this house, there are stairs that lead directly to the bed. This type of house really makes good use of the existing space while still providing space to move freely even though the building size is small. In the simplest way possible, Alejandra used to charge a percentage on top of construction costs.
The works created by Alejandra are also contained in her book entitled "Seen | Unseen: Embracing Natural Home Design in Bali". Based on a review from the Amazon page, through this book, Alejandra describes her design background which was influenced by Tri Hita Karana, a philosophy of balance in Balinese life. She also explained how the design was in accordance with Balinese culture, traditions and environment. There is also some useful information for readers, such as architects in tropical climates, spatial and interior design, cultured tourists in Bali, and etc. If you are interested in knowing more about Alejandra's journey and work through this book, you can order the book through the online bookstore Amazon. Click below:
The right client according to Alejandra
Alejandra has great clients from various countries. The houses built by Alejandra are made suitable for all ages and genders.. For her, the right clients are those who entrust Alejandra as the architect for their house, not to micromanage (she means, let the architect become the architect). In addition, Alejandra likes clients who calculate their budget according to their needs. In choosing the right client, Alejandra wants a client with a personality who is truly curious and wants to experience something memorable and make the client 'grow' through her houses.
"I really feel privileged to be living in Bali and i believe that more people will visit Bali over a long period of time to experience Balinese culture. The Balinese people really have something special about their relationship with their land. "
"If you are respectful of the Balinese culture, you end up being respectful of this land as well. People who vacation in Bali are those who make important decisions to move forward. So, respect for the Balinese culture which culminates in the respect for the land and treat Bali well when you arrive here to this island."
Alejandra is a trusted architect and has proven her expertise through her unique and great projects. If you are interested in partnering with her, you can contact us, and we will connect you with Alejandra Cineros. To find out more about Alejandra's great works, visit this page:
You can also listen to the whole story in the video recording BV C-Talks on the Bukit Vista Youtube Channel, click here directly:
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