One might have encountered Smiljan Space during Bintaro Design District’s (BDD) weekend back in September. Situated on a small street just ten minutes away from Bintaro Xchange mall, the coffee shop-slash-community space was host to a few open exhibitions and talks that drew on the theme ‘alternative living space’, earning them recognition for the ‘Best Open Architecture’ at this year’s BDD event.
This is the premise of Smiljan Space, where art, design, community endeavours and coffee collide and grow together—and there’s a sense that they approach these interests in an easygoing manner. “The starting point was to make this place informal. We want people who come here to feel like it’s their second home while bringing them closer to the art pieces that we display here or the books that we store,” said owner and architect, Rahmat “Kibo” Indrani, who founded studio SPOA Architecture.
Warm with wooden features and red brick accents, a coffee bar sits beside a long table that doubles as an exhibition or market space. The walls are usually adorned with artworks, depending on which local artists or programmes are on the schedule that month. In the deeper part of the room, a wall-to-wall bookshelf stores Kibo’s personal collection of design and art books, joined by donated titles from friends and relatives.
This relaxed approach flows to their coffee, developed by experienced barista Farhan Ghozali, or Pak’de as he is affectionately called. Knowing the intimidation that precedes specialty coffee, Pak’de has crafted a lineup that falls between light and full-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel; as such he recommends the signature, double ristretto Smiljan Magic, a local blend of Kintamani and Datar Kondang beans.
Of course, there’s the safe bet of Palm Sugar Milk Coffee, but make sure to mix it well to get the full layers of the sweet flavour. There are also options of flavoured teas and mocktails to pair with homemade small bites like quiche, brownies and soft cookies.
Set nearby home clusters, Smiljan Space has naturally become a neighbourhood’s pit stop for some coffee fix or students whiling away with work. But seeing the variety of community events that take place here, from tufting workshops to classes on journaling, a different set of crowds is sure to follow. It is after all a space designed for people to connect with various interests and backgrounds—as Kibo firmly believes, there shouldn’t be any distance when it comes to experiencing new things, be it through art, design, architecture or even coffee.