I was privileged to be part of a recent seminar on the circular economy which was headed by a Danish architect who talked about how we should design all of our buildings, infrastructure and all of our facilities so deliberately for the purpose for which they are intended so that they actually work! Seems obvious doesn’t it, but it simply isn’t done. 

One example she gave was on design for health: people get better much quicker in hospitals that are fresh, light and airy, that have natural surroundings, good fresh air, lots of windows, inspiring art, places to walk and sit and so on. But most hospital aren’t like that at all, they are cramped and functional, professional but depressing rather than uplifting. These are supposed to be our places of healing! We need to change. 

The same goes for hotels and villa complexes, we need space and nature, we need local culture, local art, local architecture embedded in design. But do we get it ? No, the modern trend to increase profitability of course, is a 20sqm room which just fits the bed and cupboard or two, with the TV on the wall and the bathroom a plastic container. Is that living?  Honestly, it’s not what Bali needs at all. 

And outside, in every street, we need to return to the beauty of Balinese design, culture, craftsmanships and style. The current suicidal dive towards overbuilding, under planning and cramming too much into too small a space can only lead to eventual rejection by tourists who really came to see Bali, not a concrete jungle.

It shouldn’t take a Danish architect to tell us that we are on the wrong track. 

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G Speirs, OBE, is the Publisher of NOW! Magazines. He has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for the last 25 years. He started both NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta as each region's preferred community magazine.