Literally translated as “Arabic Market”, Le Souq captures the young and vibrant spirit which is somewhat lacking in Jakarta’s interior design world. Fresh out of the oven, this interior decorating shop has the shelf age of one week but has won over the hearts of countless people already. What makes this shop so special? Three words – “Joie de vivre”.
Owned by Dutch national with an Egyptian father, Mira Noordhoek Hegt, Le Souq has filled a gap in the market. As soon as I entered, I squealed with delight at the colourful Buddha head candles amongst the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ rabbit print cushions, funky lamps and elegant French embroidered mirrors on display. I literally wanted to have everything in the shop! Of course this made Mira extremely happy.
“I want this shop to put a smile on your face,” she says. “It’s meant to be a fun interior decorating shop where you can also buy nice, unique, high quality gifts for the home. I want people to feel welcome here and not intimidated like you do at many high end interior shops.”
You definitely feel welcomed here and intimidation is nowhere in sight, although quality is. The design of the products distinguishes itself by being cross-cultural with a mix of styles. All products are hand made from natural, high quality materials, like teak wood and hides and fabrics used are either silk, pure cotton or linen or a mixture of both. The combination of styles is surely inspired by Mira’s travel experiences, having lived in Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia. Her collection reflects the best of these worlds.
Coincidentally, Mira is a lawyer by profession, but interior design has always run through her veins. Her husband’s move to Indonesia was “meant to be” it seems, for her to take the plunge into the design world, what with Java being the epicentre for the production of furniture and interior products. After a year in the pipeline, with the 3 P’s; Planning, Paperwork and Presentation, her dream has become a reality. All materials are imported, but products are made here, which is the reason why Mira’s financial manager, Maaike Evers, is able to keep prices down. We like this a lot of course.
Is Jakarta ready for the ‘happy chic’? Mira and Maaike definitely think so. “Your home is the most important place on earth in these hectic times. It should have a luxurious feel, yet you should feel comfortable in it and it should put a smile on your face, too!”
One of the great things about a trip to Le Souq is that you can combine it with a visit to the shop on the floor above, Dyrt, where all products are made entirely from recycled banners. Owned and founded by Karen Isdaryono, Dyrt design boasts a varied product range including Home, For Kids, For Sports, Woman, Office and even Pets! Forest Resource Certified, this shop is passionate for recycling and it shows. Minimum waste of the disregarded banners from HSBC, Citibank, Gudang Garam, Warna Warni and several other companies is a rule and small leftover cuttings are even woven or made into small placemats.
“These kind of recycled products are not new in the western world,” Karen tells me, “but here they’re still a novelty and in most cases of low quality. At Dyrt quality is high and training is even provided for those interested in learning about making recycled products.”
Two distinguishably unique shops under one roof ladies and gentlemen, both equally able to satisfy the design guru/recycling enthusiast in you.
Please visit these innovative ladies at Jl. Kemang Raya No. 72, Lot K.
Le Souq / Mira Noordhoek Hegt
+62 21 719 5672
Dyrt Design / Karen Isdaryono
+62 21 718 0275
First published in Indonesia Expat November 25, 2011