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Importing Bali Style

Importing Bali Style
By Traci O'Dea

“The outside world is a mirror to the Balinese with which they can reflect what is most important.” —Bali Style

Due to similar climates, it’s easy to understand why Bali style is popular in the BVI. Balinese furnishings and fittings utilize durable materials such as teak, bamboo and stone that can be used both in and out of doors. This makes sense because, like BVI homes, structures in Bali often feature open-air living spaces in a way that Architecture of Bali describes as “a full integration of architecture, landscape and way of life.”

In the BVI, exclusive vacation properties such as Necker Island, Baraka Point and Golden Pavilion Villa have adopted Balinese elements in their interior and exterior design, perhaps in the hopes of emulating the Balinese lifestyle. The style of the Indonesian island, according to Bali Style by Rio Helmi and Barbara Walker, “is a multiplicity of concepts intricately woven for dramatic effect; a layering of vivid colors, textures and rhythmic patterns boldly revealed in elegant forms.” It’s a look that can be at once clean and complex, whitewashed and whimsical, classic and contemporary. This is due, in part, to the Balinese tendency to be simultaneously old-school and new-school. “It is still a thriving medieval culture (complete with god-kings and feisty feudalism) which annually absorbs the effects of two million tourists,” states Made Wijaya in Architecture of Bali. This sentiment is confirmed by Bali Style which reports “the Balinese have tenaciously observed their beliefs while incorporating new ideas from the outside world. Throughout their history they have creatively adapted and adjusted these outside influences to fit their spirit.” Perhaps that is why Bali style is so influential and timeless, even all the way across the globe to the BVI—because it assimilates the best of every culture it encounters—Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, French, British and American—into a fashion all its own.

The entrance to Golden Pavilion Villa in Little Bay, Tortola. Photo by Traci O’Dea.

The easiest way to achieve the Balinese look is to furnish and decorate your home inside and out with pieces imported directly from Bali. Roy Keegan from Arawak Interiors has established relationships with carvers, carpenters, sculptors and fine artists in Bali, and he personally selects the furniture, fittings and interior and exterior accessories that the store carries, or he custom orders specific items for his clients. His store reflects the true Bali style in that he stocks everything from traditional stone statues to sleek, modern teak dining tables to intricately carved benches to a spectrum of cushions and linens. Arawak Interiors can outfit an entire villa or provide the perfect accent piece for a small flat.

The ability to continuously incorporate the old and new reflects true taste, something that the Balinese are renowned for and one of the reasons why their style is so universally praised. Part of this ability may stem from the fact that the Balinese aren’t trying to have a style at all; they’re simply living their lives and appreciating the beauty around them in all its forms.

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