Elora Hardy conjures a convivial dining environment inspired by traditional Balinese culture for the new TRi at The Pulse. Christie Lee writes.
As the first Balinese restaurant in the city, TRi has a lot to live up to. Founder and CEO of Bali-based design firm Ibuku, Elora Hardy, went all out in her reimagination of traditional Balinese dining halls for the latest addition to the swanky The Pulse in Repulse Bay.
Inspired by the Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Karana, or in other words, “where the balance among man, nature and divinity is achieved”, bamboo is the material du jour at TRi, seen not only on the chairs but also the ceilings and walls. Hardy says, “It is not only a sustainable material, but also has a spiritual function, representing wealth and prosperity.” The interiors are divided into three parts – Kampung, Kebun and Hutan, which literally translates into “village”, “garden” and “forest” in Balinese respectively.
Next to the lightness and porosity of the bamboo, the slabs of river stones offer solidity. Balinese metalworks, while providing a decorative feature, also act as dividers, shielding the semi-private dining room from the communal hall. Traditional cloths are weaved in to lend the space its distinctive colours.
The Balinese influence continues on the antique Batik Tjap wall. An ancient craft originating in Southeast Asia, copper strips are moulded into certain shapes and dipped into wax before being stamped onto a cloth. “These antique stamps were not easy to mount and are difficult to source as they are getting to be rare objects,” notes Hardy.
Another feature that makes TRi stand out from its neighbours is the bar seating. Rather than facing a bar shelf or rack, patrons face outwards into the dining area. “We designed it like a traditional pavilion to foster the feeling of friendship and togetherness among those who gather there,” explains Hardy. “In Balinese culture, the small square building to take rest or gather in small groups is called a Bale Bengong. The Bale Bengong is usually separated from the main house and located either in the front, rear or beside the river or rice field and placed to face scenic views.”
This sense community, and the idea of blurring the boundaries between the private and the public, is reinforced by a long wooden communal table that can be used for entertaining small groups or big parties.
Meanwhile, intimate conversations can be had at the cosy pods that take the shape of lotuses. These pods are flanked by a narrow meandering ledge that is lit by candlelight. In addition, soft lighting is used throughout the restaurant to create a romantic atmosphere.