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


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: TLEE Spas + Wellness
Having designed and managed some of the most renowned spas in the world, Tracy has carved out a reputation of steady leadership and innovation recognised throughout the industry.
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
Our vision is to facilitate reconciliation, through the essential values of cricket
RCSF
"The inspiration for the design comes from the green rolling hills of Rwanda and the trace of a bouncing cricket ball - Michael Ramage"

The people creating a pioneering cricket stadium that’s helping to heal wounds in Rwanda

The Nobel Peace Center, in Oslo, Norway, entrance canopy
"The museum is about rethinking the connection between Africa and America"

Ahead of the launch of the National Museum of African American History & Culture, its designer tells us what the project means to him

Bedrooms look out over the Douro River
NYC-based designer Clodagh
"We were blown away by the light, colours and endless fields of grape vines"

The designer of Six Senses' first European resort

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The report authors Ophelia Yeung (left) and Katherine Johnston
"Wellness real estate makes up about 1.5% of the total annual global construction market"

Research by the Global Wellness Institute valued wellness real estate at US$134bn in 2017 and growing. The research authors outline the implications

BIG’s design for Google’s Charleston East Campus aims to foster a sense of community
Daniel Sundlin
"What defines BIG’s style of visual communication is that our diagrams clearly capture the essence of our projects, meaning that it’s very easy for people who don’t know our projects well to understand them."

The vision for Google's UK and US HQs

The sky pool was engineered by Arup Associates, Eckersley O’Callaghan and aquarium designer Reynolds
The project is the brainchild of Ballymore CEO Sean Mulryan
"It will feel like floating through the air while you’re swimming "

On his plans for the London 'sky pool'

features
"We tried to take over in a friendly way"

The Standard’s first London hotel is bold, fun and full of surprising touches

The Roc Von restaurant
The Vo Trong Nghia-designed Roc Von restaurant opened in rural Vietnam earlier this year
"Without green design we’re finished"

Pushing green design practices and caring for the natural world

The family spend time together at the Swartberg House in South Africa, resting and recharging from their hectic life in London
"It’s important for people to be rooted in place. This is a very special house, with powerful connections to nature"

Jennifier Beningfield has built her dream home in South Africa, using ancient building methods

cladkit product news
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
cladkit product news
Eco Resort Network conference to convene in Mauritius this May
The event will be hosted in the Mauritius in 2024
Megan Whitby
Hospitality industry event Eco Resort Network is set to take place at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, Mauritius, from ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
The event will allow buyers and suppliers to meet
Magali Robathan
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo ...
cladkit product news
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...