“Zero waste” are words to live by for Liina Klauss. In 2016, the German self-styled art activist and her two children moved from Lantau, Hong Kong, to Bali, Indonesia, where she places recycling at the heart of her work and home. It was Klauss’ background in fashion that set her on the road to eco-consciousness.
“In Europe, I used antique kimonos to create high-end garments. Then in Hong Kong, I worked in the shoe industry [doing quality control]. It was insane – the over-consumption, the consumerism. I didn’t want to be part of that industry.”
So Klauss turned to art, which she has loved since her childhood in the southern German countryside.
“In Hong Kong, I found a way to bring my two passions – nature and art – together,” she says. “We lived on Lantau and Lamma [for nine years], close to nature, but we were shocked at the tangible pollution. My daughter, Lucia, developed asthma, which is why we moved to Bali – she doesn’t get it here. My husband is a pilot, so he is able to commute. I noticed the colours of the rubbish washed up on the beaches, so I made art from it – to make people look at it.”
Klauss’ latest project is an installation called 5,000 Lost Soles, at Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak, and comprises a rainbow of flip-flops and other footwear collected from Bali’s west coast.
Her scavenging instincts are also apparent in the home the couple bought in Bali, a five-bedroom, 3,875 sq ft villa set among rice fields 15 minutes from touristy Canggu. Built in 2014 by French self-taught architect Philippe Delsaut, the residence comprises three buildings around a garden and swimming pool.
The open-sided main living area has a distinctive, high-pitched roof and was constructed using materials from a 150-year-old, 1,720 sq ft teak house near Yogyakarta that Delsaut bought, dismantled and shipped to Bali. In it are bedrooms for Lucia, 13, and Samuel, 10. Two guest rooms are in an adjacent building.
“The house I brought from Java is a full wood structure, including all the walls,” Delsaut explains. “I used the structure – pillars and roof – but not the walls, as living in Bali is pleasant when the house is open.
“With the wooden walls, I built all the doors and windows for [Klauss’] villa, and the gate, and [used it for] decoration in the kitchen. I added brick buildings for the other bedroom and the kitchen, using an Indonesian style, but also thinking like a European living in Bali. So we could say that the villa is a contemporary version of an Indonesian house.”
The master suite has an open, rooftop yoga studio protected by an alang-alang grass thatched roof. Like the other bedrooms, the master suite has a private outdoor bathroom. A poolside gazebo and garage complete the walled compound.
“We live mainly outdoors,” Klauss says. “It’s summer all year round so you don’t need much, just a few clothes and flip-flops, which is why so many wash up on the beaches. The move was so easy as most of the furniture was already here – Philippe has great taste.”
However, she has added a few pieces. The headboard in the master suite and carved wooden panel in the bathroom are vintage pieces discovered in a cobwebby corner of a local wood merchant’s shop.
“The Balinese are such wonderful craftsmen, so they were able to take the old pieces and transform them,” she says.
To recycle as much household waste as possible, Klauss set up two compost heaps behind lush hedges and fruit trees.
“Bali is so fertile, particularly next to the compost heaps; I asked a farmer to plant the pink banana trees last year [some by the heaps] and I have had a bumper crop,” she says. “There’s a papaya growing next to my bathroom so the fruit hangs over the wall; you can almost eat it as you stand in the shower. It’s such a huge change from Hong Kong. We love it.”
Living room entrance The carved wooden panels were sculpted by Made Budiasa, in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. The pool table was from Sanur Sport (139 Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, Sanur, tel: 62 361 288652) and the lamps hanging above it were from Piment Rouge Lighting. The stone planters were picked up from roadside stores on Jalan Bypass Tanah Lot, in Canggu.
Living room The roof, pillars and carved wall panels in the open-sided living space were recycled from a 150-year-old traditional Javanese house that architect Philippe Delsaut found near Yogyakarta. Delsaut bought the rattan sofas from Bagatelle, the coffee table from Bali Wood Slab and the overhead rattan lamps from Piment Rouge Lighting.
The cement floor tiles are coloured with natural pigments and were made locally by Lantai Indah. Klauss had the cushions made from her collection of batik sarongs (HK$80 to HK$400 each) from Toko Adil.
Kitchen Delsaut constructed the kitchen counters and storage from polished concrete, while the windows and shelving are made from wood recycled from the Javanese house. The wall lamps were from Nadita Dewata (21 Jalan Raya Kerobokan, Kuta, tel: 81 999 950084). The oil still life is a family heirloom from the turn of the 20th century. The wooden plates were from Art on the Table. The pink bananas, known locally as pisang merah, were harvested in the garden.
Outdoor dining The dining table and benches were from Bali Wood Slab. The vintage carved sofa bed (which the cat is sitting on) was from a wood carver’s workshop on Jalan Raya Canggu. The pendant lamps were from Piment Rouge Lighting.
Main suite The bed was constructed to complement a vintage headboard Klauss unearthed in a workshop on Jalan Raya Canggu. The pendant light fittings, from Ace Hardware, match the polished concrete floor. The Free Pig surfboard is a nod to the couple’s new-found love of the sport.
Behind the batik curtain, which was handmade in Ubud, is the outdoor bathroom. The four flora images are by British photographer Nick Knight; son Samuel did the drawing in the square black frame; and the calligraphy on the grey wood panel is a quote from 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi and was painted by Klauss.
Bathroom The polished concrete vanity was built by Delsaut and the basin came from Ace Hardware. The recycled carved wood panel was found in the same workshop as the headboard. The portrait of a Balinese girl, photographed around 1900, came from Artissimo.
Pool The white sandstone swimming pool is at the heart of the garden, guarded by a grinning sculpture that came with the house.
Compound The master suite sits beneath the yoga studio, which is covered with a thatched roof. The building on the left is the kitchen.
Tried + tested
Taking root A practised beachcomber for her flip-flop art, Liina Klauss scavenged six carved tree-root balls left on Echo Beach, a Canggu surfing hotspot. They scrubbed up nicely and now decorate the garden and a couple of bathrooms. “They are massive – so heavy that we had to get a truck to move them,” she says. “I even have plants growing in some of them.”