The Newsroom

29th June 2023
MANUAL extends to the offline sphere through The Newsroom, a community space at COMO Park that pays tribute to the media landscape and gathers curated lifestyle elements in its pursuit to accommodate the city creatives.

After two years in the making, The Newsroom, a project by online publication MANUAL, finally opened its door on the second floor of COMO Park. A plunge into a new arena, the community space exists as the physical extension of the media platform, which has been covering the city’s lifestyle happenings and the creative industry’s movements since 2013.

“We always strive to select the best lifestyle elements in the city,” said Hadi Ismanto, founder and director of New Media Folder, which encompasses MANUAL, creative studio ZOU—who led the conception of the space—and now, The Newsroom. “Beyond highlighting and exposing [these elements], through the space, our audience can experience in real life what we mean by quality.”

The floor-to-ceiling front window leading up to the entrance immediately reveals The Newsroom’s penchant for metal accents, credited to furniture company Malka and its brand Materium, which glow luminously inside the brightly lit room. Drawn up by architecture and interior design lab UO Lab, the interior is a “tribute to the moment [around the 70s and 80s] where media, magazines and particularly newspapers, are at its peak,” detailed Hadi. “But at the same time, we also want to make it our own, something that is relevant and ahead of its time in the context of the city.”

On the daily, the Victoria Arduino coffee machine from F&B distribution service Toffin churns out reliable picks such as espresso and latte. But there’s also the fun in making things from scratch, as shown in The Newsroom’s drink signatures whose names playfully allude to the goings-on of a media workplace. A case in point is the increasingly popular Meeting About the Meeting; a powerful blend of espresso mocktail with notes of pineapple, orange and lemon, which brings both a kick of energy and a quip on the city’s working culture.

On a more lighthearted note, there are also Page Six and Barbara From HR. The former is a tea mocktail that pays a cheeky reference to a highly popular gossip column of a New York tabloid, tinted with apple juice to add a sweet twist to those tête-à-tête moments. While the latter is a soothing fizzy concoction packed with ginger and mint, a pick-me-up for the low-energy ‘Barbara’s in every office.

Rotated every three months, pastries are served in collaboration with independent bakeries across the city. First up is LIT Bakehouse, a Glodok-based artisan community bakery, with classics such as Butter Croissant and Kouign Amann; but for something different and a little sweeter, The Newsroom exclusive Signed Document is a recommended pick, a twice-baked pain au chocolat with additions of almond frangipane and banana custard.

Comers with a mind for particular coffee beans might gravitate towards the slow bar, where they can fuel up with a rotation of manual brews curated from noted local roasteries. It is also here where visitors get a front-row view into the New Media Folder office, furnished in muted tones and draped in grey flooring by home living brand OSLO. The typical workday plays out through the big, clear window like a silent theatre of a media workplace—a literal newsroom.

The curatorial eye goes down to the small, often overlooked details: the lighting that sets the space aglow came to be with the consultation of SSA Lighting. Low-key tunes flow out of the audio equipment as set up by streaming service Radio Rumah Oma. Whereas the long-established marble manufacturer and retailer Citatah took care of the stonework for the big white podium at the centre of the room. Of course, the experience won’t be complete without a browse through the mini library as well as the retail section; here, publications like ‘Quick Guide to Design Thinking’ by Ida Engholm and interiors magazine ‘Apartamento’,  are selected to usher transfers of ideas beyond the medium of conversations to further foster the creative environment.

“I hope The Newsroom can be a neutral hub for the media and creative industries. A place where a genuine creative spirit can be found—whether in the process of discovering new brands, books or creative new talent—to the point that it becomes part of [our visitors’] creating process. From seeking inspiration all the way to producing the work and presenting it, and in return, inspiring another generation of creators and media industry figures,” closed Hadi.