Handmade Balinese bricks provides the dramatic architectural look of Katamama. In total over 1.5 million bricks are used in the construction of the hotel, designed by architect Andra Matin in conjunction with Potato Head Family.

Each brick is made by hand, and reflects the craftsmanship element which still exists today in Indonesia. These bricks traditionally are only used in temples around Bali and not for architectural buildings. Katamama used this in a different light, giving a contemporary expression on these traditional bricks.

 

We took a closer look at the production process at our local brick craftsmen, here in Bali Indonesia.

 

The first step in creating the bricks is to sieve paras, a fine stone powder sourced locally in Bali. The sand must be fine with no lumps to be included in our bricks.

Soil is then machine-mixed in with the paras sand, making sure the mixture is not too dry or too wet.

After the soil and sand have been mixed, it is put into the molen machine, which creates a mould for the bricks. The molen machine has a spiral part inside that makes the mixture pliable.

 

The mould is then placed into the moulding machine that shapes and sizes the brick to the desired shape. They can produce up to 600 bricks per day.

The bricks are finished by hand using a rubber tool to ensure the edges are smooth and the bricks are uniform. Finally, the bricks are coated in palm oil, which leaves them with a matte finish.

Next, the bricks are placed on the top of plywood and are air-dried inside In the dry season this takes two days, while in the wet season drying can take up to four days.

After this process, the bricks are placed outside for another round of drying. This process can take two weeks during the dry season and three weeks during the wet season.

 

When the bricks have completed both rounds of air-drying, they are taken to a wood- and coconut-shell- fired kiln. The coconuts shells are collected locally then dried before being used to heat the kiln.

When the bricks have completed both rounds of air-drying, they are taken to a wood- and coconut-shell- fired kiln. The coconuts shells are collected locally then dried before being used to heat the kiln.

The bricks are then fired in the kiln, which gives them their distinct red colour, and when they have cooled, they are ready to be used. The bricks are then cooled down for another day. On the third day they can take the bricks from the fireplace and ready to use.

Journal

Maker profiles, cultural commentaries, artful film footage and mixology master classes – here we share the stories of Katamama and her island home, Bali.

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