John Hardy’s creative director Guy Bedarida offers insight into the Bali-based luxury jewelry company and how the island has influenced his own creativity
By Rachel Will
Video by Dimas Anggakara
Photographs by Putu Sayoga
Located in the hills of Bali, near Ubud, lies the John Hardy compound. Founded in 1975 following the wanderings of founder John Hardy through Asia, the now-global luxury jewelry brand has long had its creative hub based in Bali. Sustainable principles permeate the bamboo compound: organic meals grown on-site feed the 650 workers daily, for example, and recycled silver is used in all of the brand’s designs. Guy Bedarida took the helm of the organization as creative director 15 years ago and has continued the jewelry line’s novel approach to green practices. The company uses carbon-reducing techniques including its sustainable advertising program that offsets paper ads by planting bamboo on Bali’s island of Nusa Penida. Visitors are welcomed daily to the compound for tours of the idyllic kapal bambu (sculptural structures inspired by bamboo ships), communal meals with Balinese craftsmen, and glimpses of the design process. Bedarida shares his experience living and working on the island and his favorite spot to catch Bali sundowners.
How did you decide to make Bali your home?
I was head-hunted from my previous position as head designer at Van Cleef & Arpels by the John Hardy company to work and design in Bali. As soon as I arrived here in 1999, I fell in love right away with the people of Bali and Indonesia, with the local talent, and—of course—with the tropical climate.
Describe your typical day at the John Hardy workshop.
I wake up quite early and exercise a bit—either swimming or running. After a very light breakfast I arrive at the workshop around 7:45 a.m., and I first review emails and correspondences—while we sleep here, our team in the U.S. is working and emailing—then I brainstorm with the design team and do some freehand sketching.
Together the team reviews sketches, hand-carved waxes, and prototypes. At lunch we host VIP friends and guests from all over the world at a long table where there is interaction with the workshop management as well. After lunch we usually have a compound tour either alone or with VIP guests. Then I concentrate on inspiration in the library, think about new collections, and look at gems and special materials.
How have the surrounds of Bali influenced your design?
Working in an open “garden” with tropical plants and trees, beautiful birds and butterflies all around, and great temples—the mystical atmosphere is a blessing for my creativity!
How have your travels influenced your design?
Discovering new countries with ancient civilizations, museums, and unique architecture is always a great source of inspiration for me.
How has working with traditional silver artists of Bali influenced your knowledge of the craft?
In a very unique interaction—over the years I have developed an involved collaboration with the local talent. I like to mix the traditional techniques with my contemporary influences and a different take on design.
Outside of the compound, where do you like to spend time in Bali?
My house is in Seminyak where I have a great, vibrant life with many friends living there. There are also many good restaurants like La Luciola, Metis, Sarong, and Sardine. But I also like spending time in Kintamani at my friend Kadek’s Lakeview Resort (Jalan Raya Penelokan; 62/877-62447177), or Permutaran in the north of Bali.
Why have green initiatives become so important to John Hardy jewelry?
We work and live in the middle of pristine nature, and it is our responsibility and duty to protect it with also the benefit to our physical and mental health.
How do you hope to improve the social responsibility of the company in the future?
It is all about the people, with initiatives like Jobs For Life collaborating with local orphanages to create employment opportunities for the children, developing good health care benefits for our employees, or creating a program that gives work to people a chance to work from home—especially for women.
What are your plans to grow the brand in the future?
Our plan is to expand more in Asia. Historically the brand is very strong in the U.S., but Asia is now our priority, especially in Indonesia and Bali. We already have a store in Jakarta at Plaza Indonesia Mall, another one at the Bali International Airport, and we will open a 140-square-meter flagship store in July at the prestigious The Mulia, Bali in Nusa Dua.
Banjar Baturning, Mambal, Abiansemal, Badung; 62-361/469-888; John Hardy