Architecture can feel a bit stiff and confined, according to Henry Yonanda and Shendy Kresnaputra of the architecture studio, Mooi De Arch. It’s a contrast to their design DNA that is “romantic” and playful, as they approach their work with a fun attitude and flexibility in between. MOOI Space, a café slash collaborative space tucked below their studio in Vanya Lakeside shophouse in BSD, is their way of exploring that limit.
As a place, it’s clear what Mooi Space wants to be. Across the espresso bar and pastry counter is a wall that lays out some of the studio’s designs of coffee cups and tumblers, as well as the space’s branding concept—a visual of geometric pattern in retro colours—that they worked on in collaboration with Tiny Studio. Books of architecture maestros and design philosophies spread across the shelves, and just above their record player with a curated café playlist is the studio’s award-winning coffee table, the Kintamani.
The same perforated wall also acts as a mini gallery, where designers and photographers can ‘hijack’ the space to present their works. “We want to show that architecture, art, brand identity, coffee, dessert—they all can blend, and there are many potentials to be explored,” shared Henry.
When it comes to offerings, it’s not the case where food and drinks come second. With the two founders’ many experiences designing for F&B establishments, in addition to Henry growing up in a family restaurant business, the duo are confident with what they are serving.
Staples include Mooi’s signature black and white coffee, both light-tasting with fruity notes from the Kerinci beans. They also take pride in their cakes and desserts, which they brought in from their other dessert bar, Poku & Pookies. Those who come hungry can also take comfort in a variety of dishes available; the fulfilling Nasi Goreng Rawon has a spicy kick to it, while the Shrimp & Mushroom Marinara is the right balance of sweet and savoury.
Unexpectedly, many from the city drive up to experience the space, as the two founders noticed. Even when Jakarta is brimmed with establishments alike, but with the lakeside view coupled with the offerings and the design-first approach as a whole, it’s easy to pull foot traffic as MOOI Space injects a surprise fun into this rather sleepy part of BSD.