Who says we should work in the city to be successful? Singgih Susilo Kartono is one of the proofs that we can do something great from the village, with an international standard. He is a product designer who concentrates all of his business activities in his hometown: Kandangan Village, Temanggung, Central Java, Indonesia, which recruits and trains mainly local talents. His totality and persistence have resulted in the success of his masterpiece, Magno – a wooden radio and stationary – being well-known worldwide, especially in Japan, Germany and USA. It has won several international awards such as Good Design Award/G-Mark, Brit Design Award, and Design Plus Award.
For him, a product is not just an assembled set of components; there are ideology, message and spirit behind the products that want to be delivered by him through his works.
Currently, he is developing a village revitalization movement named Spedagi. It stands for “sepeda pagi”, a morning cycling exercise around the village, previously done by him to lower his cholesterol rate. This eco-friendly activity, and the nature that he sees every morning, has inspired him to create Bamboo Bike, which later becomes the icon of Spedagi. With a simple technology but high art processing, he is able to re-value, not just add-value, the bamboo more than 300x of its value as raw material.
Each village has its own unique potentials. This bamboo bike is just an example on how we can develop the potentials of a village, which might raise the economy there and attract people to come back to village.
Living and working in the village will be the trend in the future as the advanced technology in communication had eliminated the geographical boundaries; we can gain international access even from the village. It is the right moment and chance to revitalize the village, bringing back their identity as sustainable and self-sufficient community.
Temanggung, Central Java, Indonesia
What can we learn:
Learn to Travel:
Read an overview of Singgih Kartono
Make a list of questions
See the potentials of the villages around you to be discussed when you meet him
In Indonesia, we add "Pak" in front of his nickname (Singgih) to politely call a man who is older than us.