Library Lounge, Urban oasis for contemplation among books and art pieces

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The Library Lounge
The interior has characteristically Nusantara vibes, from its couches to the details of batik paintings on the walls. The Library Lounge is the best space for silence and contemplation in Jakarta. Photos: Freddy Wally

IO – Located on a slight elevation of The Orient Hotel Jakarta’s 5th floor, the “Library Lounge” is a calm spot where urbanites can escape the bustle and hustle of the city for a moment. Specially designed by hotel architect/ landscape artist Bill Bensley, the Lounge is a portal to another world, another time – somewhere during the golden era of Nusantara, but with a mélange of modern touches in the furnishings. 

Library Lounge has two subtly distinct areas, accessible through an antique Javanese carved gate, which Bensley and his team rescued from an ancient, crumbling joglo-style house in the depths of rural Java. 

The Library Lounge
Designed as both an intimate rendezvous space as well as one for working or holding small private meetings, the Library Lounge is a quiet, comfortable escape spot during the pandemic.

The first one is a 10 x 10 meter area, where visitors can sit on any of the rattan chairs, sofas, or single-seat armchairs that are strongly reminiscent of the 1950’s yet remain modern at the same time. The space only seats 28 people, which means that it is cozy and personal. To complement the seats and accentuate the space, there are ancient long tables, wooden statues from Papua, a (replica) perfectly preserved cendrawasih or bird of paradise, as well as antique cannons. 

The sense of vintage privacy is reinforced with the wall décor: batik patterns painted on canvas, Javanese carvings, as well as two wayang pieces differentiating the gender designation of the Lounge’s washroom. 

sweet snacks
Various sweet snacks that will accompany your relaxed time at the Library Lounge

Across from the square is a long bar table set in a discreet, elegantly lit space. The walls are covered in two relief carvings, as well as statues in niches that express Bensley’s ideas concerning exoticism and human passions. The skylight on both sides of the Lounge is quite high up. The ambience is further emphasized by vintage-style mirrors. Furthermore, the windows are just right for visitors to gaze out onto the Jakarta cityscape. 

As its name implies, books make up an important part of the Library Lounge. More than mere interior décor, volumes are carefully curated to serve as an aesthetic means to educate and entertain visitors about Nusantara’s golden age. The shelves are specially design to showcase the Lounge’s collection of coffee table books, which are free for visitors to read. They contain information as diverse about the Archipelago’s architecture, design, lifestyle, and achievements. 

The Orient Hotel Jakarta owner Nilayati (“Nila”) declares that the Lounge is created to serve as a highly aesthetic space that showcases part of the Archipelago’s natural and cultural diversity. “We want people to feel as if they have entered a time machine when they enter the Library Lounge. We deliberately hang our entry hall with old photos of Indonesia during the Colonial Era, as well as these framed antique 18th-century pistols,” she said. “These are rarely seen scenes and pieces from those days. We are actually creating a mini museum that can educate as well as comfort people with the long history of our Nusantara.” 

dim sum dish
Uniquely presented dim sum dish available at the Library Lounge

Nila declares that the space is suitable for afternoon high tea, cocktail hour, and snacking on Asian-inspired bites, “…as we are open from 10.00 a.m. to midnight. The Lounge is also suitable as a venue for private parties, arisan sociable lotteries, or meetings, as it is located on the same floor as the hotel’s primary kitchen. This will make it easier for us to distribute any dish, beverage, or snack that we are serving,” she said. 

Among the favorite items on the menu are the Hotel’s signature prawn cocktail and Vietnamese spring rolls. Visitors who want to have something heartier to eat may choose the kebab rendang or bakwan sambal matah. “All of these are specially created by The Orient’s highly experienced chefs,” Nila said. 

Library Lounge is just the right place to pause from the routine rat race of the city. Don’t forget, they implement a strict health protocol here to make sure that both visitors and staff remain safe during the pandemic. Go ahead, sink yourself into a magical, enlightening atmosphere in the Library Lounge! (fred)