Post A: Local Context’s Role in Shaping Boat Design

Human psychology is similar across most people, regardless of where they come from. Good designers are able to understand, and use to their design’s benefit, how particular physical elements affect ones’ emotions. This can occur through the use of elements such as colours, sounds, and shapes. If a design is received with positive emotion, it becomes a successful design among its intended audience. A person’s cultural experience influences this psychology, making culture an extremely important factor to consider when designing within a particular context (Komninos 2017). Design, therefore, is shaped by local context; whether that be social, political or environmental. Consequently, it is the very reason why different countries all over the world look and feel different from each other.

Most of the inhabitants of Banjarmasin, “the city of a thousand rivers,” live in close proximity to bodies of water. As a result of this geographical set-up, boats play a large role in the daily lives of Banjarese. The klotok, for instance, is a traditional form of river boat that can be seen and heard on many rivers throughout the city. The boats are primarily used for transporting people and goods, and are often found in floating markets, national parks, and fishing areas. Blues, greens and reds are the main colours used in and on the outside of the boats – a colour pallet that ties in seamlessly with the city around it. Klotoks are made from wood and designed with shallow draft and propeller to allow the boats for travel through the shallow waters, which is an essential feature of the boats, allowing its users to make full use of the rivers in the area. Many of the klotok boats have a roof which forms an upper deck for tourist use, but the boats remain compact in order to fit under the many low-lying bridges which cross the rivers.


Klotok Boat (Albrecht, 2017)

In contrast to Banjarmasin’s rivers is Sydney’s harbor, where the commonly seen ferry boats are used as an essential part of the public transport system. While the Indonesian klotok’s design is focused more on fulfilling basic necessities and practicality, the design of the Sydney ferries explores more avenues facilitating greater comfort for passengers – e.g. ergonomic seating, enclosed cabin space, reduced noise, and air-conditioning. These differences can be attributed to the different socio-economic cultures and needs of Sydney and Banjarmasin. Sydney harbor is very deep, and its large wharves allow for the boats to have deep draft, which gives the boats a smoother ride if and when the water gets rough. The ferries are constructed from more durable material (steel) than the klotok boats, and are painted Australia’s national colours – green and gold.

Syd Ferry

A designer who designs in a foreign area faces many challenges. They are not able to purely rely on previous understandings or knowledge; rather, they must learn and adapt to the local context and culture. During my time designing in Banjarmasin I used many design techniques to evolve my thinking and understanding to suit the local area. Through undertaking a Dérive of the city and immersing myself in Banjarmasin’s culture by interacting with the locals, I was able to become empathetic to the local needs and peculiarities. Collaborating with Vital Strategies, who had personal experience designing in the area, greatly assisted in this process towards understanding how to produce successful designs in the context of Banjarmasin. My team and I designed boat banners for an event, which followed design cues from the city and seamlessly fit into the local context – this was achieved through the use of specific colours, shapes and patterns in our design. By acknowledging the local context, we created a successful design that had meaning to, and an impact on, its viewers.


Boat banners (Albrecht, 2017)



Komninos, A. 2017, Creating Emotional Connections, The Interaction Design Foundation, viewed 30 January 2018, <;

Service Innovation Labs, 2015, Design to Allign to Different Cultural Contexts, viewed 1 February 2018, <;

Post C: Dina

Banjarmasin is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with a captivating clash of old and new cultures. From its floating markets to its immense industrial shipping yards, it is very clear upon first observation that the city revolves around its rivers, which seemingly act as the veins of the land.  Although Indonesia is home to many cities, with many different cultures within them, a common thread unites the nation – high rates of cigarette usage and addition. Banjarmasin is not exempt from this dark shadow that falls over the country.

Walking through the city of Banjarmasin, there is no escape from this fact: men smoke while they work, and conveniently located cigarette stalls and large billboard advertisements fill the streets. During my time in the city I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to visit Universitas Lambung Mangkurat, the oldest university in Kalimantan. There I met a student named Dina who studies Primary School Teacher Education. She is 20, and she enjoys her education, K-pop, and spending time with friends after university. I took the chance to understand more about the problem of tobacco in the area, and had an engaging conversation with Dina about young people’s involvement with smoking, and her own personal experience of this.


Dina, a 20-year-old student at Universitas Lambung Mangkurat.

Dina currently lives with her grandparents, as her parents live in a small village far from the city. Dina recounted the first time she was affected by smoking – at school. When some of the boys in her class began smoking, aged 15 years old, they would “leave the classroom and go out for a smoke, as they were not allowed to do it inside the class.” Hearing this was shocking, as not only did it reveal that kids as young as 15 were smoking, but that they were also missing out on their education. At that age teenagers are extremely susceptible to peer pressure (Steinberg & Monahan 2007) meaning others in the class would be at high risk for taking up smoking too. As discussed in a previous blog, Smoking Culture in Indonesia, there are a number of reasons why smoking is taken up by the youth in Indonesia, especially in males.

However, Universitas Lambung Mangkurat is a smoke free area and Dina (a non-smoker) is very aware of tobacco’s damaging effects on the body. She spoke about how she was taught in school about the dangers of smoking and described the confronting television advertisements that she has seen in Indonesia. Although it does not prevent all the students from smoking, Dina believes that less people are now smoking in Banjarmasin because the dangers of smoking are taught in school and at university. This presents a contrast to the rest of the country as the rate of smokers under 18 in Indonesia between 2013 and 2016 rose from 7.2% to 8.8% (Senthilingam 2017). This provides an interesting contrast to Dina’s personal perception that fewer people in Banjarmasin are smoking, and taking up smoking. One explanation for this might be that only the children who are receiving an education are aware of the dangers of smoking, so in Dina’s immediate circle of friends (who are all at university) it might seem like fewer people are smoking, when outside of Dina’s social circle, the opposite is true. Another explanation could be that the effects of tobacco are less important to Indonesians of lower income who focus more on working to survive, rather than aiming for a longer and healthier life. Regardless, it is evident that smoking is deeply interwoven in Indonesian culture, affecting countless victims – both first-hand and second-hand smokers. From my experience with Dina, is seems as if education is Indonesia’s path to a clear future.



Steinberg, L. & Monahan, K. C. 2007, Age differences in resistance to peer influence, Developmental Psychology, Vol 43(6), 1531-1543

Senthilingam, M. 2017, Chain-smoking children: Indonesia’s ongoing tobacco epidemic, CNN, viewed 22 January 2018, <;

Sohn, K. 2014, A note on the effects of education on youth smoking in a developing country, Vol. 19, Iss. 1, viewed 22 January 2018, <;

Post B: The Crowbar

Cigarette butts contain carcinogenic chemicals, pesticides, and nicotine, and most filters are made up of plastic fibres (cellulose acetate). Accordingly, the 5.6 trillion cigarette butts that are littered into the global environment each year (Healton et al 2011) have a large – and negative – effect on the environment.

Whilst cigarette butts may be small, they contain materials that are not biodegradable and are littered in large volumes, which is proving detrimental to the environment. Damage from this includes bio-accumulation of poisons up the food chain and harm to water supplies (ANRF 2017). However, a Dutch start-up called Crowded Cities have come up with a design solution to combat the impact of tobacco waste on the environment.


Crows are highly intelligent animals and are able to make and use tools. Using this knowledge, and taking inspiration from the design ‘The Crow Box’, industrial designers Ruben van der Vleuten and Bob Spikman came up with the idea of the Crowbar; a device that teaches crows to pick up cigarette butts in exchange for food. When a crow brings a cigarette butt to the Crowbar and drops it into the funnel, the device recognises whether it is in fact a cigarette butt and then dispenses a bit of food for the crow to take.

Hypothetically, the crow will continue to collect cigarette butts in return for food and let other crows know to do the same. Thus, the Crowbar proposes a solution to the major problem of littered cigarette butts by harnessing nature to do most of the work, and creating a mutualistic relationship between local crows and the machine. The next step for researchers will be to examine how collecting cigarette butts affects crows, i.e. whether carrying the butts in their mouths will have a negative effect on them.

However, substantial issues and challenges arise from the design: for instance, the Crowbar would have to be purchased by a local council; the machine would need to be set up, supplied with food and emptied of butts on a regular basis; and wild cows would initially need to learn how to use the Crowbar. As different crows learn at different speeds and in different ways (Crow Box n.d.), potentially the Crowbar would have to be implemented in different ways depending on where in the world it is being used.

Future potentials permutations of the Crowbar could include collection by the crows of other small pieces of litter, including gum, various plastics, etc. The machine could either encourage locals to litter less, but it also has the potential to validate their littering, and incentivise them to litter, as they may feel like they are helping or feeding the crows by producing waste for them to clean up.



ARNF 2017, Cigarette Butt Waste, viewed 12 December 2017, <;

Crowded Cities n.d., The Crowbar, viewed 14 December, <;

Healton, C.G., Cummings, K.M., O’Connor, R.J. 2011, Butt really? The environmental impact of cigarettes Tobacco Control, viewed 12 December 2017, <;

The Crow Box n.d., The Official Crow Box Kit, viewed 14 December, <;


Post D: Smoking Culture in Indonesia

Smoking is a huge element of Indonesian culture. It is difficult to identify specific local or regional areas in Indonesia where smoking is more prevalent than others – rather, smoking is an issue on a national level across the nation of islands. On a global level, the World Health Organisation (WHO) currently places Indonesia as first in the world for the highest prevalence of tobacco smoking, for males aged 15 and older (WHO 2015).

There are many possible reasons for the high rates of smoking found across Indonesia. One reason is that advertising in Indonesia is not restricted in the way it is in many other countries, such as Australia. Tobacco advertising in Indonesia is among some of the most aggressive and innovative in the world, and tobacco advertisements saturate the environment (Nichter et al. 2009). Advertisements for cigarettes – which show “fit, happy, middle-class Indonesians” (The Guardian 2012) are everywhere: “on billboards, along roads, in magazines, in newspapers and on TV” (The Guardian 2012). Tobacco companies are politically and financially powerful in the country because they are one of the largest sources of government revenue. Due to the economic value of tobacco in Indonesia, there are few restrictions on tobacco marketing and advertising (Nichter et al. 2009).

These economic benefits affect more than just advertising – they also affect anti-smoking policies and regulations in Indonesia (Nichter et al. 2009). Smoking tobacco is also not totally banned in many places (such as government facilities, indoor workplaces, restaurants and cafes). and even in places where smoke-free laws exist (such as public transport), the laws aren’t necessarily enforced (WHO 2017). In Australia, however, tobacco advertising has been banned (Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992), and smoking in ‘Commonwealth government workplaces, aircraft, airports, interstate trains, and federally registered motor coaches’ is prohibited (Allianz Australia 2017).

In Indonesia, as of 2016, 10.7% of the retail price is tax (World Health Organisation 2017)  making cigarettes very affordable. The Indonesian tobacco industry is estimated to generate $7bn in revenue for the Indonesian government every year (The Guardian 2012).
Indonesian women smoke far less than their male counterparts – a mere 3.6% of women over 15 smoke, or have smoked, compared to 76.2% of men (WHO 2015). This is cultural, as women smoking are perceived to be impolite and ill mannered (Nawi, Weinehall & Öhman 2006). Meanwhile, smoking is becoming more prevalent among younger boys.  A study among teenage boys in a rural setting in Java was undertaken to understand reason for this and found to be due to the following factors/attitudes: that smoking is a culturally internalised habit; young boys are striving to become men; that smoking, particularly clove cigarettes, is not dangerous; and that addiction is difficult to overcome. (Nawi, Weinehall & Öhman 2006)

Culturally, it appears that “if you don’t smoke, it’s like you’re not Indonesian” (The Guardian 2012). The cultural, social, and economic implications of this, however, are dire.

Sampoerna factory locations (Java)


They collectively employ about 41,900 employees to produce Sampoerna’s SKT products

(HM Sampoerna Annual Report, 2015)


Map final

Based on the top 3 most popular brands (size reflects popularity by Indonesians)

Red – Sampoerna 

Blue – Gudang Garam 

Green – Djarum



Allianz 2017, Smoking laws across Australia, viewed 5 December 2017, <>

Barber, S. Adioetomo, S.M. Ahsan, A. & Setyonaluri, D. 2008, Tobacco Economics in Indonesia. Paris: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

HM Sampoerna 2015, Annual Report, viewed 2 December 2017, <>

Hodal, K. 2012, Indonesia’s smoking epidemic – an old problem getting younger, The Guardian, viewed 7 December 2017 <>

Nawi Ng, L., Weinehall, A. & Öhman 2006, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’—Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking, Health Education Research, Volume 22, Issue 6, Pages 794–804, <>

Nichter, M., Padmawati, S. & Danardono M. 2009, Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia, Tobacco Control, viewed 4 December 2017, <>

Wong, S. 2017, Cheap Cigarettes Are Winning in World’s Second-Biggest Market, Bloomberg, viewed 7 December 2017, <>

World Health Organisation 2017, WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, viewed 4 December 2017, <>

World Health Organisation 2016, Prevalence of Tobacco Smoking, viewed 4 December 2017, <>

Senthilingam, M. 2017, Chain-smoking children: Indonesia’s ongoing tobacco epidemic, CNN, viewed 5 December 2017, <>
Stowers, C. 2009, Men smoking kreteks, the clove cigarettes indigenous to Indonesia, Panos Pictures, Artstor, viewed 7 December, <>