Feature

Ibuku - John & Elora Hardy

The creator of the Green Village in Bali and his daughter tell Magali Robathan how their bamboo, nature-inspired homes are changing the way we view the places we live


Read on turning pages | Download PDF | sign up to CLAD

Father and daughter bamboo builders Elora and John Hardy believe feeling happy and healthy in your home boils down to just one thing: being as close to nature as possible.

The pair, along with a team of designers, architects and craftspeople based in Bali, conceive and create beautiful, fantastical homes from bamboo that are about as far from most modern houses as it’s possible to be.

Their business, called Ibuku, makes homes which are curved, whimsical, tactile and often partly open to the elements. They’re also highly sustainable and each one is unique in design and inspired by the natural world.

“Living in a box is death to the people,” says John Hardy, speaking from his home in Bali. “We evolved to walk on the earth, not on perfectly flat, industrial floors. Modern homes are full of right angles – they’re not life enhancing. Look at the beauty in the world. There are no right angles.

“And the toxic crap in so many of our homes,” he continues. “What are we doing to ourselves and the planet?

“We don’t use right angles in the homes we build. We take our cues from nature and traditional indigenous buildings. The floors in our homes are often slightly ridged – they’re amazing. You wake up and you just feel happy.”

“The experience that people have in a building is much more important than what it looks like,” adds Elora Hardy. “The most powerful thing for people to get from the spaces we build is a feeling of optimism, that there’s hope and possibility and magic in the world.”

GREEN VISIONARIES
In 2007, Canadian jewellery designer John Hardy and his wife Cynthia founded Bali’s Green School – a pioneering, open air school built from locally sourced bamboo, that teaches sustainability alongside a traditional curriculum, with the aim of inspiring the green leaders of the future and educating them in the latest environmental thinking.

Together with daughter Elora and a team of talented architects and craftspeople, John and Cynthia then built the Green Village, a community of 12 unique (and very beautiful) private bamboo homes, surrounded by the lush Balinese forest and within walking distance of the Green School.

Today, they’re building the final three homes that will complete the Green Village development, and are looking for the right people to invest in a very different kind of home.

HOW IT BEGAN
John Hardy moved to Bali in 1975, where Irish artist and designer Linda Garland introduced him to bamboo as a building material. Impressed, Hardy decided that bamboo was the future of sustainable building, and vowed never to build with concrete or brick ever again.

Bamboo is flexible, light and strong, with the compressive force of concrete and the same strength-to-weight ratio as steel. It can also regenerate itself in just a few years, and absorbs more carbon dioxide than softwood trees.

“Bamboo is one of the only sustainable materials in the world that’s so prolific that we can promise it to everybody,” says John Hardy. “We certainly can’t promise everyone pine trees, the rainforest is gone, and cement is destroying the planet, but bamboo we can promise.”

John Hardy spent the next three decades building his jewellery business (to see it today, go to johnhardy.com), while also creating a number of buildings from bamboo, including his jewellery workshop and showroom.

In 2006, he watched Al Gore’s environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth, and was shocked into action.

Hardy decided he needed to be part of the movement spreading the word about climate change, and that education was a key starting point, so the following year, he and Cynthia sold their jewellery-making business, gathered the team and created the Green School.

“I realised that with four children, retiring and playing golf was no longer an option. I had to do something,” says Hardy. “The school came from the idea of giving something back.”

At the time, Elora was working for designer Donna Karan in New York. On a trip home, she visited the Green School and was impressed by what she saw. “I needed to be part of something sustainable. It really came down to that,” she says.

Elora moved back to Bali to lead the team of designers and makers responsible for creating the Green School and later the Green Village. The team became Ibuku – which translates to Mother Earth – a design and architecture practice that has created hundreds of bamboo structures, including private homes, a private spa on Bali, a restaurant in Hong Kong and an expansion of the Bambu Indah boutique resort in Ubud, Bali, which is owned by John and Cynthia.

THE GREEN VILLAGE
The Green Village consists of 12 luxurious bamboo homes, with a further three under construction. These final three homes will complete the community, and the developers are currently advertising for ‘property owners, renters, investors, and environmentally-conscious businesses to become a part of our Green Village community’.

What kind of person buys a home in the Green Village? “Really amazing, adventurous people,” says Elora. “The kind of person who’s seen it all – who’s experienced so many interesting, beautiful things, and is looking for something that feels authentic. People say they can really connect to nature in our spaces – to something deeper.

“People talk very passionately about the houses we build, whether they live in them or visit them,” she continues. “There’s a sense that this is the right way to live, that it’s natural and people just feel good in them.”

The latest property being built is called Eclipse and it should be complete by the end of 2018. It’s a four bedroom property, split across two buildings – the main house and the guest house – each with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

“The house is built primarily from black bamboo, which is rare and beautiful,” says Elora Hardy. “It’s nestled among the black palms, and it feels a little moonlit and otherworldly.”

Inside the guest house, moon motifs have been used throughout. “It was a fun opportunity to take the design a little bit away from the more natural, rustic style to something more contemporary and graphic,” she adds.

INSPIRATION
For Elora and the team at Ibuku, the starting point when designing a home is thinking about the feeling they want to create. “We think about the natural spaces that make us feel safest and calmest and happiest – a beautiful grove of trees may be the most conducive space for feeling well,” she says. “When we design, we take inspiration from nature – from caves and nests. There’s a lot to be drawn from the human body as well, from its curves and forms; the way we like to lean or stretch or curl up when we’re resting.

“If you’re building a yoga space in a home, for example, you want to feel as though you can stretch as far as possible, but you also want to feel grounded and protected. We try to think about how we can create a space to encourage that.”

She believes the materials we surround ourselves with are vital to our wellbeing. “For millions of years, we’ve become used to relating to organic forms and irregularities,” she says. “They’re reassuring and comforting for us.”

“You can go for a walk in nature, or see a beautiful picture of it. But to actually be immersed in it and to be able to sleep in it. What could be more luxurious than that?”

The final three residences at the Green Village

Eclipse House
Eclipse has two dwellings, each with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It also has a swimming pool, nestled in the lush garden next to the Ayung river
Price: by application
Status: Guest house 100% complete. Master house 90% complete.

Echo House
Four bedroom house, consisting of a master house and guest house. The property has two swimming pools and an exotic garden overlooking the river valley
Price: sale pending
Status: Guest house 100% complete. Master house yet to begin.

Aura House
Set among giant black palms, this intricately woven, two-bedroom house is ideal for one family.
The land area for Aura is 465.82sq m.
Price: by application
Status: 100% per cent complete

The final three houses will complete the build at the Green Village in Bali / Photo: IBUKU/Tomasso
The final three houses will complete the build at the Green Village in Bali Photo: IBUKU/Tomasso
The final three houses will complete the build at the Green Village in Bali / Photo: IBUKU/Tommaso Riva
The final three houses will complete the build at the Green Village in Bali Photo: IBUKU/Tommaso Riva
Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: Dornbracht GmbH
Dornbracht is turning the bathroom into a LifeSpa: Dornbracht’s LifeSpa vision has taken the idea of health-oriented bathroom design to a new level.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The Gainsborough Bath Spa was originally built as a hospital. It opened as a spa hotel in 2015
Bakos joined Champalimaud in December 2012. He previously worked for the Rockwell Group
"Construction is one of the largest generators of landfill waste, so it is important to create spaces that transcend trends"

It’s time for a new approach to sustainability, argues Champalimaud’s managing director

The Electronic Tomato
Peter Cook
"Somehow we’d caught the imagination of people"

As a book about radical architecture collective Archigram is released, we speak to one of the founders about the need for fun

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Bill Bensley specified techniques and products used in the 13th century when designing the Hành Huong Yên Tu Village
"Our palette was pared down to basics"

The Vietnamese village being created using historic methods

Beacher visited several Zaha Hadid buildings for design inspiration
"I fell in love with Zaha Hadid"

Black Panther set designer Hannah Beachler

Barack Obama has described the OPC as a gift to Chicago
Van Valkenburgh studied landscape architecture and fine arts at Cornell University and the University of Illinois
"Building a park is the ultimate act of democracy"

The US landscape architect on why the Obamas are his kind of clients

features
"It’s about tracing the evolution of thermal practices"

Eco architect Vincent Callebaut has won a competition to redesign ancient thermal baths in the Savoyard town of Aix-les-Bains, France

CLAD people: Asif Din
Din has worked on a range of sustainability-focused projects
"It’s imperative the architecture profession takes a proactive approach to tackling the realities of climate change"

Perkins+Will’s new sustainability director

The running track at the Bill R Foster Recreation Center
David Polzin is executive director of design at CannonDesign. He studied at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture
"We were able to create an ‘acoustic shadow’ cutting decibel levels nearly in half"

How to design the perfect community leisure centre 100 13th century pilgrimage The Vietnamese village being created using historic methods

cladkit product news
David Rockwell partners with Jim Thompson for dream-inspired fabric collection
Rockwell has designed 12 multi-use fabrics inspired by dreams with long-time collaborator Jim Thompson
Lauren Heath-Jones
Renowned architect David Rockwell has created a collection of fabrics with long-time collaborator Jim Thompson. Called Dreams, the collection was ...
Water inspires Zaha Hadid Design x Rosenthal collaboration
The collection consists of three smaller collections: Weave, Strip and Lapp. Weave was inspired by 'the fluid lines of Zaha Hadid's sketching hand'
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal to create a new collection of vases. Called the Lapp collection, ...
Volvo partners with Reef Lab Designs to encourage ocean biodiversity
The tiles are made from marine-grade concrete and recycled plastic fibres
Lauren Heath-Jones
Car manufacturer Volvo has partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab to create an environmentally-friendly ...
cladkit product news
Tom Dixon Studio to relaunch iconic Pylon chair
Pylon was first designed more than 20 years ago
Lauren Heath-Jones
Originally conceived in his metal workshop in the early 90's, the Pylon chair was Dixon's attempt to create the world's ...
Mater partners with Ditzel family to create eco-friendly furniture using reclaimed plastic
The furniture uses plastic from recycled fishing nets
Lauren Heath-Jones
Mater, an ethical design brand based in Denmark, has launched a furniture collection made from plastic reclaimed from the ocean. ...
Alusid's Sequel collection combines craftsmanship and sustainability says founder
The Sequel collection is billed as the 'most waste-efficient and sustainable' on the market
Lauren Heath-Jones
Alusid, a creator of eco-friendly surfaces, has partnered with Parkside to launch the Sequel range, the brand's first collection of ...
cladkit product news
Baux creates plant-based acoustic panels
Baux has worked with scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology to create Baux Acoustic Pulp, a plant-derived acoustic solution
Lauren Heath-Jones
Baux, an acoustic products brand based in Sweden, has developed a line of biodegradable acoustic panels, using a plant-based material ...
Paul Kelley pushes 'technical boundaries' with modular furniture cube system
The system is designed to enable users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, where they are in complete control of the design and function of their furniture
Lauren Heath-Jones
British designer Paul Kelley has created a modular magnetic cube furniture system that enables users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, ...
BD Barcelona Design reveals Cristallo by the late Alessandro Mendini
Cristallo was the last design from acclaimed designer and architect Alessandro Mendini
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design Studio BD Barcelona Design has released Cristallo, a limited-edition cabinet designed by the late architect and designer Alessandro Mendini, ...