The Symbolism Behind the Waterfall at the 43rd ASEAN Summit Welcoming Area

Kominfo 08 September 2023
The Symbolism Behind the Waterfall at the 43rd ASEAN Summit Welcoming Area

Jakarta, 6 September 2023 – A 9-meter-high cliff and waterfall installation in the middle of the man-made forest stands tall at the welcoming area at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), Jakarta.

Combined with a large multimedia screen displaying the silhouette of the Presidential Palace in the Nusantara Capital (IKN), the welcoming area simulates a back-to-nature experience of the future harmonious co-existence in the new capital. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Iriana Joko Widodo stood at the bottom of the cliff to welcome the guests of state.

The cliffs and waterfalls attracted the attention of the ASEAN heads of state upon their arrival at the venue of the 43rd ASEAN Summit. The First Lady of the Philippines Louise Araneta Marcos even gave two thumbs up while giving a broad smile, as she stepped into the JCC.

The welcoming area is decorated with a waterfall, an artificial lake, a bridge, and a forest inhabited by different types of flowers and plants. burbling water and chirping birds enhance the natural ambiance. It is almost certain that the guests would be swept away by the atmosphere and forget that they are in the middle of the city of Jakarta.

“When I was asked to bring a waterfall into a room for the ASEAN Summit, I couldn't say no. It's about nationalism, about Indonesia. I’m grateful to be entrusted with creating something for the country,” said X-Set Studio Owner Suparman Putra Surya to the Communications and Media Team of the 43rd ASEAN Summit, on Wednesday (6 September 2023).

Suparman himself, in collaboration with Dina Touwani as the decorator, is the artist behind the waterfall cliff.

For three weeks, Suparman and his team worked on the waterfall cliff installation at his studio in Cibubur. The fiber installation was then assembled and transported to the JCC. All the flowers and plants were then added by the decorators. 

“Moving the waterfall indoors is obviously a challenge. I built a small lake around the waterfall for the smooth circulation of water and prevent leakage to the JCC floor,” said Suparman. Suparman is well-known for his expertise in creating nature-themed indoor decorations. His work often enlivens venues of various national and international events.

For this event at the JCC, Suparman set up four water pumps that operate 24 hours. The pumps drew water from the artificial lake, pushed it to the top of the cliff, and then it flowed back to the bottom. To prevent the leakage, even during construction, Suparman also prepared an installation made of PVC reinforced with three layers of membrane.

The 15-meter x 20-meter lake extends below the red carpet on the path walked by the heads of state. 

So, the lake water actually runs underneath the carpet. When welcoming the heads of state, Mr. President Jokowi also stood above the lake. That is why the path to the waterfall is slightly uphill,” he said.

Suparman explained that the biggest challenge when creating the lake and waterfall cliff was to carefully calculate the water load, water volume, water circulation, and its impact during transportation to the JCC Building. “The building was not designed to hold large volume of water,” he added.

More than a hundred personnel helped Suparman prepare everything needed to build the lake, cliff and waterfall, and then install them with full decoration around the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) complex. He also invited decorators from other regions to supply the stones.

Elwin Mok, a Visual Creative Consultant of the 2023 ASEAN Summit, said that in the concept of designing an experience, the welcoming area is indeed one of the most important points. The welcoming area is the area that gives the first impression to the invited guests on their visit to Indonesia.

"It is at this point that the uniqueness and inner atmosphere can begin to be built, which is expected to have a positive impact on the overall organization of the summit," said Elwin.

According to Elwin, the welcoming area at the 43rd ASEAN Summit features Indonesia’s natural atmosphere, reflecting Indonesia and ASEAN. And all are in line with the theme "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth".

ASEAN is the world's epicenter of growth that is committed to preserving nature and balancing ecosystems for a better future. The close cooperation between ASEAN countries is akin to a spring that will continue to foster the world's growth. Suparman's cliffs and waterfalls have perfected it.


For further information, please contact the following:

Director General of Public Information and Communications of the Ministry of Communications and Informatics – Usman Kansong (0816785320).

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Photo caption: President Joko Widodo (second right) accompanied by First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo (right) welcomes Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (second left) and spouse Ho Ching at the opening ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit at the Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta, Tuesday (September 5, 2023). Media Center of the ASEAN Summit 2023/Aditya Pradana Putra/aww.

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