AIA Animal Shelter Design Submission

The Collapsible Bamboo Dog Kennel
The Collapsible Bamboo Dog Kennel design is an outcome of our outdoor life in Ningbo China. With a footprint of 500mmx760mm (550mm tall), it was designed to be 100% backpackable and has two pitching options (for outdoors, perfect for picnics or camping and for interior space) For outdoor use, it works similarly to tents but with a central bamboo pole as a column (Base 1 only) For interior use where knocking the pegs into the ground is not possible, Base 2 is also used in conjunction with Base 1 This collapsible bamboo structure is suitable for smaller sizes of dog, X­Petite and Petite We took inspiration from nature and mother earth. by exploring the Fibonacci sequence computationally and elaborating it into our design which in turn creates interesting spatial qualities The low headspace can be used to store toys and food bowls With the paracord attachments. bamboo poles are can be replaced one at a time This also has a positive impact on a more sustainable product by promoting post sales maintenance Through this design we hope our fluffy companions will be able to enjoy outdoor life as much as we do

We did not win but here is the coverage article:

Thank you AIA Shanghai!

Design by Ben and Mia (Aksen- China and Indonesia)

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Circular design principles

While the linear economy uses a ‘take-make-dispose’ sequence, the core defining element of Circular Economy (CE, henceforth) is the restorative use of resources. Raw materials shall not become discarded waste. By no means is KALA an expert in this area, but we want to share these ideas to fellow architects and designers, while at the same time trying to implement the approach to the way we curate our product lines.

The roots of material circulation date back many decades. It was proposed by Kenneth E. Boulding in 1966. He mentioned that circular systems within the global economy are unavoidable in order to guarantee human life on earth in the long run.

The most recognised definition in CE is offered by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation:

“A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design and aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles..”

Kirchherr et al., (2017) analysed 114 definitions of CE, the authors ultimately defined it as: “An economic system that replaces the ‘end-of-life’ concept with reducing, alternatively reusing, recycling and recovering materials in production/ distribution and consumption processes….

The system diagram system illustrates the continuous flow of technical biological materials through the ‘value circle’. The biological materials (on the left) are those materials that can safely re-enter the natural world once they have gone through one or more use cycles. The technical materials on the right cannot re-enter the environment. These materials such as metals, plastics, and synthetic chemicals, must continuously cycle within the system so their value can be captured and recaptured.

Related CE concepts include: Cradle-to-Cradle, Blue Economy, Regenerative Design and Closed Supply Chains which can be explored further in Geisendorf and Pietrulla (2018).

Kanters (2020) posits that barriers to circular building design include: the lack of standard methods, it can be seen as a higher financial risk, transformation to a CE is difficult especially when materials with high circular potential are needed to keep up with the demand, and also lack of flexibility in building codes and regulations.

At a very small scale we tried to implement this in Bamboo Pod 3 (click here and here)’s post-disassembly. Link to Bamboo Pod 3 articles can be found at the bottom of this article. Design for Disassembly (DfD) is one of the key strategies the KALA and AKSEN team have been studying. Although in a bigger scope of work such as multi-storey buildings the scalability might be problematic, we are keen to explore. We are currently brainstorming the approach for an interior design scope of work, wherein the change of interior design is deemed to be more often than the change of architecture. In particular this can be achieved through a clean disassembly, where parts and joints are easily accessible for maintenance using mechanical joinery (as opposed to non-removable, chemical ones) and its reusability in different interior projects.

On other note, materials from Bamboo Pod 3 are being re-purposed as part of KALA’s packaging (hemp cloth and ties) and we also turned the 5mm bamboo battens to bamboo quadcopters. They were particularly popular with the young pilots we did the workshop with in October 2021.

Lastly, we want to conclude with an diagram adapted from Rahla et al. (2021), with regards to circular design principles. Through this exercise we also want to share KALA’s selected products which encapsulate these design principles, albeit still on a small scale. With these reflections in mind, we want to show it is possible to include circular design principles in any kind of design


Geisendorf, S. & Pietrulla, F. (2018). The circular economy and circular economic concepts—a literature analysis and redefinition. Thunderbird International Business Review, 60, 771-782.

Kanters, J. (2020). Circular building design: An analysis of barriers and drivers for a circular building sector. Buildings, 10, 77.

Kirchherr, J., Reike, D. & Hekkert, M. (2017). Conceptualizing the circular economy: An analysis of 114 definitions. Resources, conservation and recycling, 127, 221-232.

Rahla, K. M., Mateus, R. & Bragança, L. (2021). Implementing Circular Economy Strategies in Buildings—From Theory to Practice. Applied System Innovation, 4, 26.


Infography by Ben and text by Mia

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English : (tba)

For Chinese : (tba)


KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

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Merry Christmas 2020!

How time flies! Aksen and KALA (our product design line) would like to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. What a year been for Aksen, through the ups and downs. But we maintain a high spirit in this festive season. I hope you are spending it with your loved ones, and have a fantastic 2021!

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Aksen Tiny House: Questionnaire

In Aksen’s design practice we are questioning a lot of what we know as ways of living in Indonesia. We look at customisable first houses, in the spirit of tiny houses. Most suited for individuals (but not limited to) between 20-30 years old. When maximising limited space takes priority. Personal preferences can be your design parameters which we are building an understanding systematically. If you have 10 minutes to spare, please contribute to our survey (only for Indonesians).

Update: on behalf of Aksen, I would like to say massive thank you for those who spent time on answering our questionnaire. We hit our target (and more) in less than two days. This would not happen without help of the community. We now close the data collection earlier than we planned. A sincere thank you from Jessica and myself.


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Our new brand: KALA

Find us in Instagram @kalaartdecor, in Wechat: kala_artisanal

As a subsidiary of Aksen (Indonesia and China), we launched our dual line brand, KALA. This brand is for our mum, who passed away in November 2019. Her sudden passing was (and still is) difficult for us and it led my sister and I decided to get back to our root. My sister moved back to our home city not long after my mum’s passing and she became the anchor of our brand in Indonesia.

KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco friendly lifestyle that keeps both environmental and human safety at the core of our philosophy. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftmanship.

Based on the etymology referring to Wikitionary , KALA means
waktu” in Indonesia or “time” in English. While in Hindi origin word means “arts” or “a skilled craft”. The Javanese handwriting in the logo reflects our roots, our ancestors in Yogyakarta sultanate.

Our products are also in GoEco online platform, an Indonesian based platform for sustainable products.

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