The Bizzare and the Unusual

About just things I have the appetite to write about.

Bandung Art Deco Experience

When visiting to Bandung, you’d probably know many places to visit since there are plenty of sites providing information about this unique city of Bandung.
Most of them telling you why you should you visit this city while expecting some PPC. And some are because they love this city so much. But if you really want to know the real experience, find sites or blogs that are written by real tourists from let say European or Americans that can share you their experience objectively.

From my research it is not at all a wonderful experience visiting Bandung. Why, because for some its just a typical not too small Indonesian town, in a ‘keep on developing’ country where public service is still poor (let’s be honest to ourselves), there are traffic jams, pollution, sometimes you get ripped off because of you’re a foreigner, and stuffs like that is the reality. So it is not as promoted: beautiful city, clean air, and so on.

So I think those blogs aren’t necessarily wrong in some ways. And it is critic that this city, the authorities, and the people must take actions and contribute to Bandung as service and tourist city. A good comparison is the people of Bali, They understand that the whole province is an asset and they work together to safeguard it. O,ya Bali is a province in Indonesia, the capital is Denpasar.

When tourist flee from Bandung, one of the most ‘mentioned’ thing that tourist say when they go back home are the Art Deco Experience of Bandung. Yes, especially if you know a little a lot about architectures at the beginning of the 20th century. Art deco has become more of culture. At the 1920s to 1930s the style was called the ‘Ocean Liner Style’

At Indonesia it was brought by Dutchmen C.P. Wolff Schoemaker dan A.F. Aalbers. Their masterpiece include : Savoy Homan and Vila Isola (Shoemaker) and Preaner Hotel (Aalbers).These became prominent Bandung landmarks. Actually there were more buildings of heritage, these mentioned still exists.

Pic 1. Vila Isola Building at Setiabudi Street.
The curves are strengths of the Art Deco Style

So what happened? One by one these buildings are sucked by business and capital interest. This means if the money is right, it will turn into a Mall or others. As a comparison, at Monaco (F1 stage) the Art Deco buildings are preserved, at Amsterdam you can see the preserved art deco building while surrounding it there are skyscrapers.

Pic 2. The Swara building of Asia Afrika street at close range.See how poor
the condition it is. It has become more of a liability than an asset. If this
still exist five years from now and get restored, then the authorities are serious
about preservations. There are growing concerns about old buildings in Bandung.

The thing is that old buildings of Bandung has become MORE OF A LIABILITY THAN AN ASSET, yes there has to be ‘budget’ to take care of them. We’re a developing country, some argued. I think there’s so much blogs by people of Bandung or even outsiders ‘crying’ seeing these buildings destroyed and disappearing one by one. There’s even a group called the Bandung Heritage Society that has been working saving these buildings and other heritages of Bandung. If this MINDSET doesn’t change we will just keep on seeing the same thing happening again and again and keep on blaming each other for it. Long live citizen journalism.

visit bandung

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