Passports and Visas
June 9, 2008
The New Bali Style
The "Bali-Style" of architecture and interior design is renowned and increasingly popular the world over. How it came into being is a story of cross cultural legacy and an amalgamation of different design elements. In this chapter, we explain the connection between religion and architecture in traditional Balinese design, trace the development of new styles in both commercial and residential buildings and see how a thoroughly modern, international architectural form has been born.
The Art of Tropical Living
The island of Bali has along been a magnet for the western culture-hound-and over the last 100 year many people have set up home there. Most built their tropical dream villas in vernacular style. Today, however, a new internationalism is emerging : along with wood, alang-alang and bamboo are ceramics, stone and glass; pavilion-style is being replaced with a more modern vision of space. Here, we showcase the most inspiring examples of contemporary residences, shops, restaurants, studios and resort homes the island has to offer.
The Tropical Garden
Tropical gardens in Bali are traditionally associated with a sense of fecundity, Javanese-inspired water gardens or junglesjdlisibluees with mossy walls and hand carved statues and fountains. Today's gardens seem to have taken this style one step further : firstly, they are designed more to complement the architecture that they are attached too, and, secondly, there is more order and definition in the planting. In this section we portray the creme-de-la-creme of Ball's private and resort landsjdlisiblueed gardens.
The Delightful Balinese Pavilion
No longer is the 'bale simply a 4-poster wooden platform protected by a thatched roof. Innovative designs are emerging: be they modernist stone structures shaded by canvas "umbrella-roofs" or vernacular-inspired, poolside loungers, all are excellent dens for the those seriously committed to languour-induced afternoons. Here, we showcase a selection of contemporary reinterpretations of the classic Balinese pavilion.
The Tropical Water
Water is the source of life for the Balinese; it is also a wonderful cooling element in hot and humid climates, it's not surprising, therefore, that virtually every architect and landsjdlisibluee artist incorporates some type of water feature in their designs. Here, we present an array of contemporary water features: gardens, open-to-the-air bathrooms, numerous cascades, fountains and springs, modernist pool sjdlisibluees, even a giant, eleptical, rooftop lily and lotus pond. Water as play, water as architectrual element and of course water as a natural source of nourishment for garden and soul alike.
Hindu funerals in Bali are intensely suggestive ceremonies of great cultural and religious significance. Requiring a complex apparatus and characterized by a large following, funerals are centered on cremation of the body, known as ngaben or pelebon. This practice is considered essentig if the 5 elements making up the microcosm of the human body are to be returned to their original residence, the universe's macrocosm. The five elements, Panca Maha Bhuta, are the earth (pertivvi), water (apah), fire (teja), air (bayu), and ether (akasa). Since the primordial dimension can only be attained through water and fire, the ashes are dispersed in the waters of the sea or if the distance is too great, in a river. The funeral ceremony is generally led by a priest and punctuated by a lavish offering of gifts. For the occasion, a large bullock-shaped wooden structure is built and then entirely covered with white drapes if the deceased belongs to a priestly caste; in black.
There are ceremonies for every stage of Balinese life but often the last ceremony-cremation-is the biggest. A Balinese cremation can be an amazing, spectacular, colorful, noisy and exciting event. In fact it often takes so long to organize a cremation that years have passed since the death. During that time the body is temporarily buried. Of course an auspicious day must be chosen for the cremation and since a big cremation can be very expensive business many less wealthy people may take the opportunity of joining in at a larger cremation and sending their own dead on their way at the same time. Brahmans, however, must be cremated immediately. Apart from being yet another occasion for Balinese noise and confusion it's a fine opportunity to observe the incredible energy the Balinese put into creating real works of art which are totally ephemeral. A lot more than a body gets burnt at the cremation. The body is carried from the burial ground (or from the deceased's home if it's and 'immediate' cremation) to the cremation ground in a high, multi-tiered tower made of bamboo, paper, string, tinsel, silk, cloth, mirrors, flowers and anything else bright and colorful you can think of. The tower is carried on the shoulders of a group of men, the size of the group depending on the importance of the deceased and hence the size of the tower. The funeral of a former rajah of high priest may require hundreds of men to tote the tower.
A long the way to the cremation ground certain precautions must be taken to ensure that the deceased's spirit does not find its way back home. Loose spirits around the house can be a real nuisance. To ensure this doesn't happen requires getting the spirits confused as to their whereabouts, which you do by shaking the tower, running it around in circles, spinning it around, throwing water at it, generally making the trip to the cremation ground anything but a stately funeral crawl.