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Not only do antique buildings have a cultural side, but they also invoke an aesthetic sensation that delights people's eyes. Those who are into those things would love the Semasa di Kota Tua, a creative community that frequently hosts pop-up markets and tours of heritage sites throughout the capital of Jakarta.

Semasa is a Jakarta creative market that houses a variety of handpicked local products. Almost all tenants at Semasa are chosen from local brands in order to introduce local products and accommodate creativity.

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What distinguishes Semasa is its use of historical sites as creative market settings. This uniqueness is the key to the success of the implementation of Semasa, which has been running for five years.

Bringing memorable moments
In Indonesian, Semasa refers to a certain point in time. "We hope to provide unforgettable and memorable moments for individuals who attend our event," stated Gunawan Lo, Semasa's Co-Founder.

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Initially, the establishment of Semasa was prompted by views that historical places were being abandoned because they were overlooked, particularly by the youth, even though Jakarta boasts several historical-cultural sites that are still well-preserved and would be a shame to miss.

"In the middle of 2016, we attempted to organize a small art market at the Olveh Building, as well as a walking tour of Kota Tua neighborhoods," he said.

"It turned out that the response was positive, and we began conducting activities in the Kota Tua area on a regular basis."

Later, Semasa actively explores historical sites in Jakarta that can serve as go-to spots for people to hang out. The exploration has resulted in a collaboration between Semasa and Jakarta Provincial Government hosting activities in Lapangan Banteng and Balaikota in 2019.

Commitment to support local businesses
In addition to giving fresh experiences and alternative entertainment in Jakarta that are not found in malls or cafés, Semasa stays true to its initial concept: promoting local brands.

Brands who successfully qualify to become tenants at Semasa gain visibility both offline and online and a boost to sales

To become a Semasa tenant, one must first go through the curation process. Semasa will, after that, contact the qualified brands. Those interested in becoming tenants can send their profiles to its email, and the selected ones will be contacted directly by Semasa.

Semasa chooses brands based on variables such as product quality, branding, and social media presence, among others. According to Gunawan's advice, a good presentation will be a plus. They have welcomed hundreds of local brands as tenants for the past five years from diverse parts of Indonesia, including Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Medan, and Bali.

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Semasa was influenced by other countries whose historical areas are frequently used to host artistic events. Gunawan believes this is a great combination.

"We live in Jakarta, and we realize that there are still numerous public locations that we may explore," he explained. "We want young people in Jakarta to know about or be aware of historical landmarks in Jakarta."

Seeing the potential of historical areas in Jakarta, Gunawan and his team took the initiative to hold Semasa activities in historical places such as the Old City, the Bank Indonesia Museum, Banteng Square, and the DKI Jakarta City Hall. The good news is that these historical places also draw visitors' interest, which in turn supports the surrounding local communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted Semasa's activities, which are primarily held offline. Fortunately, they still host online events in cooperation with one of Indonesia's largest e-commerce platforms, Tokopedia.



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