On the Subject of Grammars

by Hilda Raina
10th December 2021
Home to the city’s local makers and creatives, Bandung-based boutique gift shop slash artspace, Grammars, compels a visit with its lineup of creative exhibitions, pop-ups, and modern picks.

Ask the average Bandung local where their go-to weekend spots are and chances are the name Grammars will pop up. A creative hub slash boutique gift shop, Grammars wins over visitors with its carefully selected range of design-centric and miscellaneous trinkets, with an emphasis on locally-produced goods.

“Initially, we thought of setting up Grammars as a gift shop. When talking about curation, we wanted our range to reflect and support the growing community of local makers and art, and at the same time for the space to be an incubating hub for ideas to grow and take shape,” noted Ardo Ardhana, one of the co-founders. 

To their delight, it is evolving to be just that. Inside, a blend of art enthusiasts, design buffs, and the occasional wandering bypasser float through the room, skimming through their collection of indie zines, graphic tees, and quirky homewares. As a rule of thumb, most items stocked here mesh function and aesthetic. Here, one’s likely to find jigsaw puzzles next to analogue cameras, hair oils, stationery box sets, sustainable toys, and even a meditation guide. 

For the design-savvy, familiar names like Teurak, Phantasien, Norrm Radio, and Adieu Living are artfully dotted around the room. In their mini publication corner, artworks and independent prints from local publishers and artists are stacked and displayed on walls. Think illustrations and graphics by local studios: Seni Kanji, Thinking* Room, to indie zines and titles like Jordan Marzuki’s War, Astronaut, Death, Violence, Floating Mountain and Roman Soldiers to add to one’s collection. 

Moving beyond aesthetics, Grammars affirms that it is, in fact, more than meets the eye. Ardo alluded that Grammars was made to be “an evolving, creative space.” To this date, the space has doubled as a community hub, regularly hosting temporary art exhibitions and pop-ups. From budding artists to the more established, one can look forward to discovering new names and picking up a new skill set, all in the name of sharing art.

When feeling peckish, one won’t need to look far: fresh juices are at the ready at Los Manos, and through a connecting door at the back, one can access Gang Nikmat. Dubbed as Bandung’s comfort food, the humble eatery sees a perpetual queue from neighbouring residents and curious out-of-town diners for a taste of the Ayam Gulung Telur Asin (salted egg rolled in chicken) and Spicy Kailan Crispy. 

Their combination of hip tenants and roster of creative events thrust visitors to return, befitting of their position as one of the city’s most beloved creative hubs. Setting up the space for Bandung’s emerging makers and creatives, in Grammars, they gather and are amongst their own.