POST C: Ecodesign by Singgih Kartono


While I was staying in Central Java I had the excellent opportunity to interview the designer of “Magno”, Mr. Singgih Kartono. Mr Kartono explained the Ecovillage, a place that puts emphasis onto the environment and organic production, kindly and in detail. I asked about how Magno came to be his complete brand, what design inspired it, why the Magno headquarters is centred in a village , the issues of living in a village, and finally what the brand was worth and its future.

First off, Magno began as a 1994 wooden design product. It started as a wooden toy, designed to bring enjoyment to the lives of the local people. However, in 2003, a factory which came to be the foothold of Magno was established in a village. He also stated he wanted to create simpler and more special designs, and through his friend’s advice began to create big functional stationary product designs. Afterwards, through experience, in 2005 they successfully created an electronic product radio; when asked why he built it, he stated that he liked electronic equipment, and his girlfriend at the time (now wife) worked in a radio company.

The radio design was originally inspired by environmentally friendly Japanese design using bamboo; what more he wanted from the design was for it to be simple and fundamentally faithful. If he wants to design something and receives inspiration at some point, he’s one to begin design immediately, and said that the inspiration was to mix Indonesia’s traditional culture with a simple design.

The designer enjoys environmentally friendly design, and believes the organic natural environment is most familiar to the customers and will thus go far. Wood and bamboo are part of our natural world, after all. It was for these reasons that the company was founded in the middle of a village.

The problem with living in villages, however, is that people have their prejudices. I thought that living in a village would cause one to fall out with the times, but he stated that he found himself motivated and with renewed focus. Thanks to such challenges, the “Magno” brand was able to hold together.

Another challenge of living in a village is the difficulty of getting ingredients for food. The roads inside the village are narrow, and the thoroughfare situation isn’t great. However, he made a bike through booboo, and all these challenges assist him in being even more creative!

He added that he thought that if designers only design to sell, and for their own benefit, it would be no good, and that designers should also think of the functionality and comfort provided to users. When he completed environmentally friendly design, Magno’s value went up and he thought of himself as successful for the first time. He also stated that it was his goal for Magno to be a global brand representing environmentally-friendly design.



Anon, 2016, viewed 1 March 2016, <;.

Magno 2016, viewed 2 March 2016, <;.

Magno wooden radio – Eco Design – Distributor for Europe / Importeur – Singgih Kartono 2016, viewed 3 March 2016, <;.

Notes from Interview with Singgih Kartono, 21/2/16


One thought on “POST C: Ecodesign by Singgih Kartono

  1. He’s awesome! I also briefly talked about Singgih and his design philosophy in my blog post A: Indonesia and Design. Singgih not only designed with environmentally friendly materials, he allowed his life experiences and village to be the place where he developed a belief in creating a relationship. I think that his design philosophy is also significant in his career where his goal is to not only design with natural resources but also to sensitise his product users with nature and to use this opportunity to reinforce the importance of valuing the environment and its uses.

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