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View on Beauty

21 Jun 2022 by AlvinT

Reflecting on the word’s definition, we reflect: who doesn’t want to be considered pleasing? We want to be pleasing to others, so we are wanted. Beauty is so important to us. It’s even considered one of the most important aspects of the ultimate reality besides truth, and justice/goodness.

Although it’s important to us, there were times of incline and decline where the theme of beauty in the world is debated and used. In the past few years, society globally has once again fallen head over heels over the word “beauty.” Among the reasons is that the sense of ownership towards the word has become more comprehensive. It’s no longer associated almost exclusively with a “perfect” woman and nature and its representation. It’s now an inclusive word that belongs to any gender and anything. In another sense, the term has become more loaded than ever before. 

View on Beauty

Mona Lisa painting on Louvre Museum, France.

Industries are using the word to capture a bigger market, and with the development of targeted marketing technology, the term has become a buzzword. Due to that as well, the beauty industry is booming. Companies across industries are leveraging the inclusivity of the word, but it somehow remains superficial to most. Meaning, that there is dishonesty in what the companies wanted to achieve. When many of them say they create products to help you express the beauty within, it’s actually just a means to cash-grab from its potential consumer.

For us, we regard beauty as honesty to intention and process. We don’t consider society’s appreciation towards the face of beauty as a problem. But rather, we view it as human nature. Human tendencies to physicalities are part of the natural law. Meanwhile, we emphasize on how the purveyor of beauty that we consume is honest with its intention and process. Even if the intention itself maybe dark or negative, as long as it’s honest, then we can find beauty in it. Just like art. However ugly, it can be valuable.

We apply this perspective on beauty to many of the decisions at AlvinT. Some take form in our persistence in highlighting underdog material such as rattan or looking towards Indonesia’s vernacular and traditional culture to learn from and create more thoughtful contemporary objects.

Our take on beauty also highlights the reality that, however, we as a society try to see the beauty within, it cannot be disconnected from its physical or cosmetical outcome. And in terms of the physical outcome, there are highly multifaceted factors that govern it. First is the culture from which the maker of beauty and its spectators depart. Second, the society and its culture where the beauty is expressed, and how much the makers are aware and decided to respond to it.

In the design world, it’s not easy to expand or transfer what you view as beauty to the spectators. For example, AlvinT’s Linger and Mingle benches are something that people can quite easily consider beautiful. Perhaps because it’s more culturally fitting to us and the spectators. But sometimes, there are several designs that were created with the intention to challenge the typical beautiful physicalities, such as Petal and Malya, which resulted in varying society’s responses. But our way of conveying the idea and intention of its creation helped bridge the difference in perspective and hopefully allowed others to see the beauty we are expressing. 

Thus, how the creator conveys their intentions will help express beauty and increase the honesty factors. This relies on how well and right we communicate the design and its intention and are open to critical review. The strategy of communication can become a two-bladed knife to beauty. It’s more honest if the strategy is created to bridge the idea to the spectators than if the strategy is created to manipulate the perception. It’s like make-up that brings out your best feature rather than turning you into a porcelain doll.

Without honesty about intentions and processes, we view that none of our creations really matter. Because we don’t see how we can value something as beautiful if it's superficial?

Because then we value the wrong subject. Similar to when we respond to a question with a false understanding of the said question, we simply miss the subject and should move on to the right one. The wrong answers will be forgotten within a second. So does our creation.

Founded in 2006, alvinT is a Jakarta-based furniture brand started by Alvin Tjitrowirjo that amalgamates Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage and artisanal approach with contemporary sensibilities. Authenticity remains the driving force behind our innovation.While we revere tradition, we would like our products to stand as a testament of character in an increasingly homogenized world. As much as design should be seen, it should also be felt. All of our products are hand-made by skilled local artisans because we believe in delivering honest products that inspire genuine engagement, transcending the tethers of trend and time.alvinT furniture collections have been exhibited in various international exhibitions such as Milan Design Week, Stockholm Furniture Fair, Paris’s Maison et Objet, Tokyo’s Designart, and NYC Design week.


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