Through the Frame of TANATAP Gallery Matraman

by Indira Ichsan
11th January 2024
The fourth addition to TANATAP coffee branch sprouts in Matraman, still with its penchant for conceptual architecture to add to the city's green open spaces.

Indonesian architecture firm RAD+ar does it again: ruffling the cityscape with another compelling contemporary structure. Offering vast spaces abundant with lush greenery at every corner, TANATAP Gallery Matraman’s tropical architectural language rightfully lends itself to the title of a “coffee garden”.

“We sprung from the idea of creating an inclusive, green open space people can enjoy simply over a cup of coffee. That’s why we call [TANATAP] a ‘coffee garden’ instead of a coffee shop,” shared co-founder, Tika Dwi Putri.

Though Matraman finds itself rather elusive from the trendy coffee shop scene, RAD+ar could not have imagined it planted elsewhere. This particular building is a site-specific concept constructed in mind of its surroundings, primarily the public park or Ruang Publik Terpadu Ramah Anak (RPTRA) it faces. 

With the park as the main subject, TANATAP’s box-shaped building “frames” the scene for visitors—an experience that mirrors the feeling of being inside a movie theatre. This fusion of metal, mirrors, translucent glass, and artfully manipulated layers of plywood mimicking colossal bulbous tree roots indubitably stands as the site’s pièce de résistance; sheltering what seems like an upscaled terrarium, as plants sprawl across stone grey slabbed benches like a meeting of forest and mountain. 

Downstairs, past the long, narrow corridor, the indoor area assumes the shape of an amphitheatre for 360-degree views of the room’s centrepiece: more greenery. Across the ribbon-like waved walls, one would find works of local, up-and-coming artists featured every quarter—befitting the “Gallery” title 

Complementing the visual experience, the ‘coffee garden’ offers a comprehensive menu ranging from light bites like Truffle French Fries and heartier mains such as Beef Manadonese Rica Pasta and Tanatap Kampong Fried Rice to desserts, with the Vanilka cake (their vanilla latte in cake form) making its debut feature at this branch. Coffee selections, available in reusable glass bottles for easy takeaway, span flavours from aren to caramel. Yet for a non-caffeine kick, mocktails such as the Bazooka, concocted from bubblegum, lemon, and elderflower, are also in store. 

Like its former iterations, TANATAP Gallery Matraman unveils like a needed breath of fresh air amidst Jakarta’s grey and congested streets. And in a burgeoning city where novel concepts often come and go with the season, it’s comforting to witness that the ‘coffee garden’ has remained true to its mission while coming up with yet another conceptual architecture to dazzle the metropolis’ café-goers.