Ideally, Pasar Modern Santa is a destination for those who seek pocket-friendly delicacies and meals during the day. Yet, on the first floor of the market, tucked among the food vendors and coffee shops, lies Kemala Home Living that offers handcrafted homeware goods.
Launched on Instagram in 2014, Kemala was born out of owner Dian Elvira Rosa’s fascination for home décor and organising. Teakwood, a tropical hardwood native to Indonesia, remains one of the brand’s specialities from the beginning. A group of local artisans in Central Java handcrafts the said material into understated and chic tableware – ranging from cake stands, salad bowls, coasters and cutleries; all polished with beeswax to ensure safety for edibles.
What started with only a handful type of homewares, have grown organically, seeing the brand extending its range to include more items in its family. Take the multifunctional honeycomb-shaped glass containers adorned with brass; perfect as an elegant flower vase or a make-up brush case. Likewise, the sturdy baskets made of water hyacinth, a free-floating aquatic plant, would suit just about any kind of space.
Other than wood, glass and wicker craft, another corner in the shop also displays a range of ceramic goods including plates, bowls, and teacups. While some are the brand’s own design, a few others like the Sandstone mugs, were made in collaboration with the Jakarta-based ceramic artist, Ayu Larasati.
Much like the brand’s utilitarian designs, the petite store is decorated most minimally. Humble racks, neatly stacked with their homeware goods, stood out against the shop’s white walls. Moreover, the calming scent of lemongrass and the display of delicate dried flowers (which are for sale and rotated according to what’s in season from an overseas supplier) encapsulate a kind of personality in contrast to other shops on the floor.
With so much emphasis on fast-moving consumer goods these days, Kemala Home Living stands out to remind us once more of the beauty of craftsmanship. Indeed, maybe it is the slow process that fosters the best results. And there is no better place than the long-established Pasar Santa to showcase that.