Milano Design Week 2018

17 - 22 April 2018

at Superstudio Più, Via Tortona

Whereas internationally and in many cases, the term “blue” projects concepts of glumness and melancholy, one shall be bewildered by such grace, wisdom – often seduction, that it unveils, as whispered by the ancient Javanese.


Mankind had always dreamt of creating – be it ideas, forms, or hues. Through a complex journey of obtaining from floras, the tint of the sky and the water that the island of Java is privileged to possess, falls the birth of a cultural identity: Blue. More than a celebrated color amongst a specific Indonesian region, it reassures the quality of which the global contemporary is dared to employ today – that is, self-expression.


The Indonesian Contemporary Art and Design (ICAD) is proud to collaborate with regarded talents within the Indonesian contemporary art and design scene, in the occasion of the Superdesign Show 2018, to unearth the mystifying yet forceful connections between man, nature and its powers, under a contemporary framework. Java Blues uncovers a mindfully curated selection of designer products – brass, copper and mix-media ornaments, ceramic tableware, gold jewelries, Batik cloths and woodprint art – in the lines of Javanese philosophies.

Gunungan (2018)

Harry Purwanto

180 x 105 x 5 cm



Traditionally, Gunungan is an element from Wayang (Javanese shadow puppet), used to mark the beginning and end of a performance. Therefore, it depicts life and everything in between. Each one relies upon two lines, so as to remind humankind of their relationship with their Creator (vertical) and other living creatures (horizontal). It is a cultural treasure that serves as instrument to pass down philosophical teachings about wisdom.


Harry Purwanto’s Gunungan, made out of brass, features figures of various animals and other forest dwellers. The designer changed the actual material and function of this object, so as to transform it into a contemporary interior design element. The balance that it portrays spreads equilibrium and harmony around the space that it occupies, and in the lives of the people living there. Thus, Harry Purwanto reapplies Gunungan’s values according to the context of present-day living.

Parang Collection


Variable Dimensions


Parang is one of the most ancient motifs of Batik, Indonesian traditional wax painting on textile. As a brand specializing for years in ceramic design, Jenggala brings this iconic Javanese visual to their tableware collection. In every traditional pattern, lies an ocean of hidden messages that the Javanese ancestors would like to pass down to the following generations. Inspired by the continuous movement of the wave, one of the most significant life advices that the Parang motif expresses, is to keep on going despite whatever obstacles we encounter.

Woodcut collection by Ucup Baik:

Sri Rejeki (2018)

Ucup Baik

40 x 40 cm


As an agrarian society, Javanese believe in the myth of the Goddess of fertility, Sri Rejeki. In Java, there exist varieties of plantations, and Javanese have their proper way of appreciating the growth of food in their land. As rice is the main staple food in Indonesia, paddy is regarded as something sacred, and its harvest is celebrated by paying respect to Sri Rejeki. Through this story and using woodcut technique, Ucup Baik emphasizes, especially for the present-day individuals, the importance of counting our blessings and being thankful.

Maskulina (2018)

Ucup Baik

85 x 220 cm

Woodcut print

According to traditional Javanese culture, both men and women have their own particular roles in this world. Maskulina illustrates five codes that symbolize what a Javanese man is expected to possess; house as shelter, woman as soul mate, horse as symbol of transportation, bird of hobby, and Keris (Javanese dagger) of power to protect the family. These five aspects are believed to define one man’s level of maturity.

Jewelry Collection (2018)


Variable Dimensions


Tulola’s gold jewelries are inspired by the richness of nature, Indonesian society, and traditional craftsmanship. What empowers the brand is their promise of preserving ancient artisan techniques, as well as their commitment in passing down tradition to the next generations. Drawing inspiration from the Indonesian archipelago, Tulola explores traditional floral motifs and transform them into fresh designs that relate to today’s context and fashion. Since nature contains richness and great benefits for human beings, it is essential to appreciate it. The botanical forms and materials in this work seem to communicate with each other, combining curves and lines of the nature in a harmonious way

Tumbuh (2018)


Variable Dimensions

Mix-media (Ceramic and Resin)

This series of three mix-media artworks by ICK melds principally two distinctive elements; flat yet finely textured ocean-blue surfaces, and groups of three-dimensional copper-tinted forms. As a child, ICK used to rotate his oil lamp away so that the brighter side would face the walls instead of his sights. This honest childhood anecdote is what pushed him to reflect more about the contrasting aspects within the society, and how they coexist and collaborate. For him, but also according to Javanese culture, it is essential to realize that a plant could not grow without its soil, the same way that we need the presence and support of others in order to survive and expand. The pointy and curvy edges we can find on the three works seem to correspond one another harmoniously.

Batik Jawa

Nita Kenzo

Variable Dimensions

Naturally dyed Batik

Nita Kenzo of Galeri Batik Jawa is one of the very rare talents who manage to preserve the endangered technique of producing Javanese Indigo Batik naturally. Batik itself is a process of creating complex wax patterns, whether painted or stamped, on textile. Whereas Batik nowadays exists in various colors, blue remains to them the “color of the Kings and the King of colors” – its elegance being unconditional. The power that the color blue spreads is depicted in an old Javanese saying, “Karena nila setitik, rusak susu sebelanga” (One drop of indigo stains the whole pot of milk”, which sums up its influential character.