What happens when a retail space merges art, design, culture, food and shopping
Seminyak is one of Bali’s busiest locations, and it’s pretty easy to lose one’s bearings when traversing narrow streets in search of guidebook-certified stores. One place you won’t get lost in however, is the Fredo Taffin and David McCracken-designed shopping mall, Seminyak Village. Taffin is renowned for his sleek Ku De Ta design, a nightspot as intrinsically Bali as the island’s stunning beaches. With Seminyak Village, he and McCracken whose previous projects include stellar shopping mall projects in Australia and around the region, has conjured a curvaceous light-filled two-floor 60,000 square feet space that’s as much about conveying Bali’s multi-dimensional narrative of culture, tradition and panache as it is about an exciting retail mix of international labels and locally cultivated stores.
In the past, well-heeled travellers might have had to plan their holiday wardrobes in advance. Now they just have to head to Seminyak Village with stores like Munich luxury brand MCM; M Resort, featuring a clever edit of brands ranging from Missoni to Just Cavalli ; while Rococo Resort makes style-setters feel at home with ranges by of Badgley Mischka, BCBG Max Azria, See By Chloe, Vilebrequin and Joe’s Jonas. And for ladies with an unexpected glamorous event to attend, Farah Khan’s embellished high voltage statement pieces are versatile enough to go from beach soiree to red carpet with practised ease.
Meanwhile, at the ground floor Indonesian Emporium, a combined art, crafts and retail alcove, curated by Belgian Eric Van Bruggen, is where the mall’s soul resides, set in environs respectful of Balinese traditions. Van Bruggen who worked previously with Pierre Cardin, brings together a tasteful selection of exceptionally well-made handicrafts, all of which possess sartorial edge. For example, on-point wooden Wayfarer-inspired sunglasses by Suki Wooden Sunglasses; as well as Batik Wayang’s exquisite silk throws and scarves with delicately measured designs.
While Van Bruggen works his design eye on the Indonesian Emporium, an additional cerebral dimension comes into focus with Sandrine Soumade’s artful guidebook My Life in Bali, filled with illustrations by Edith Baudrand, reminiscent of those from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. Soumade’s tome contains both observations and celebrations of every day Balinese life and customs, which is also reflected in Seminyak Village’s blending of new, old and cultures-in-between. A modern and expressive counterpoint to the Indonesian Emporium is Marketplace, a bright and homely space filled with textiles, fashion and other inventive wares by the island’s creative folk.
On the ground floor is celebrated chef Will Meyrick’s latest effort – Tiger Palm, featuring the cuisine of Penang, reinterpreted by the Bali-based culinary personality, so expect to find signature barbeque chicken wings inspired by Chinese street stalls, char koay teow – wok-fried rice noodles with crab meat – as well as roasted duck in a sweet, tangy plum sauce. Like at his other restaurants in the region Mamasan and Sarong, Meyrick creates a tasty list of cocktails including a coconut-flavoured mojito and jamu-based drinks, the latter of which pays tribute to the island’s penchant for herb and plant-based elixirs that pack an undeniable punch.