Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ubin Tjap Koentjie, Cap Kunci Cement Tile, a classic Indonesian heritage

courtesy of masoye

courtesy of hariribowo1

courtesy of hariribowo1

courtesy of yogyes.com

I remember when I was just a little child, I went to my grandparents home. It was a house with old colonial style painted in white. What really hit my memories is when I find cement tile shown in some printed medias. Ubin tegel Tjap Koentji or you can say ‘Key Brand cement tile’ has been highlighted in some media as the nostalgic, classic, retro element of interior.

The story originated when Louis Maria Stacker and Julies Gerrir Corrane joined to start making cement tile and founded their firm as "Firma Tegelfabrik Midden Java" on 16 December 1929. For decades the firm had been handovered couple times. Because of financial problem during the big recession, in 1931, Liem Ing Hwie, who had just graduated and left Delft, stepped in and replace Julies. While Louis stayed until Dutch left Indonesia. During the early independence era, many assets of Dutch taken over by Indonesian government, including Firma Tegelfabrik Midden Java. There are two version date when the firm given back by the government to the heirs, in 1950 and in 1973.

Ceramic tiles made big impact for the firm. Until in 1998 Mega Puspa Arifien Karang, a graduate of ISI Yogya, Indonesia Art Institute, stepped in and taking over the business under Matta Indonesia Art & Craft joined with Pabrik Tegel Kunci. And now ubin tegel Tjap Koentji rise and shine again. Numerous colletors hunted ubin tegel Tjap Koentji. From palace, hotel, cafe to residence use this classic cement tile.

Ubin tegel Tjap Koentjie made of combination of cement, sand that mined from Mount Merapi, and glued by mill. The process is relatively manual. The only machine that used is quite modest and simple. It really depends on the skill of artisan. The owner, the heirs’s wife of Tegel Tjap Koentjie, Bernie Liem, said they try to make the process as traditional as it could be. Every artisan can make only 2 m2 patterned tiles and 10 m2 plain tiles.

Ubin tegel has 4 layers, called matras, kalungan, kancingan and stempel. Every layer has it’s own composition. Stempel is where the paint is added to the mixture. The difficulty grower when patterns and motifs are designed. A pattern in iron sheet have to be made first. Next step is drying process. It doesn’t need a dryer machine. They just put the tile and let it dried naturally by the wind. Next is putting the tile in the water for 24 hours in order to strengthen the mixture and tighten the pores. After the soaking process, the tile must dried naturally for 4-5 days. Actually compared to ceramic tile, using cement tile for tropical area is better. If the heat is going up, cement tile will not break easily.

Cement tiles have various of beautiful motifs like batik, butterfly, flower leafe, geometric, and in puzzle. It has plain color too. Over 150 motifs

Pabrik Tegel Kunci is not the only cement tile manufacture. Other manufacture is Diamond Baru which originated as Pabrik Tegel Bintang which founded in 1927. Diamond Baru had been certified ISO 9001-2000. Besides serving local market, both Tegel Tjap Koentji and Diamond Baru products have been exported to many countries.

For further information you can contact
Jl. Magelang Km. 7.2 Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55825
Phone: +62 274 868070, +62 274 867788
Fax: +62 274 867867

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