GardenDrumSudden death of Made Wijaya

Made WijayaMade Wijaya, whose name is synonymous with Balinese and tropical garden design, died suddenly on 29 August during a visit to Sydney.

Made Wijaya designed his first garden for the Bali Hyatt in Sanur and went on to design over 600 commercial and residential gardens around the world, including the Naples Botanical Garden in Florida and gardens for David Bowie. His own personal garden and studio at Villa Bebek had become a mecca for lovers of tropical garden design.

He was a passionate advocate of Balinese culture, writing books on Balinese architecture and costume as well as tropical garden design. He has also recently been outspoken about tourist over-development that is threatening what remains of Bali’s natural beauty.

Wijaya, who arrived in Bali as Michael White back in 1973, had become a larger than life character in Bali, most recently exercising his well-known acerbic wit and razor-sharp criticisms in a newspaper column titled ‘Stranger in Paradise‘.

Wijaya died after a short illness at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.

More at Farewell Made Wijaya, an obit by his long-time friend Rio Helmi

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7 thoughts on “Sudden death of Made Wijaya

  1. What a loss.

    Made responded generously to my request to be our keynote speaker at Brisbane’s Tropical & Sub Tropical Garden Design Fest a few years ago.
    ‘I think I should be called ‘Made Keynote Speaker Wijaya’, he mused.

    Made was magic. Stirred the possum with his irreverence underpinned by an innate sense of design and extraordinary knowledge – and plenty of flair in delivery.

    Even those delegates he bewildered would have heard the message to keep character and soul in their landscapes, and make them beautiful places in which to live.

    Thank you Made.

  2. Shocked by the news. As maestro of obituary writers, I wonder what he might have said about himself. He made us all smile with his succinct sardonic eloquence. In the early days of Strangers in Paradise he would personally deliver print offs to hotel rooms in Sanur for friends visiting from out of town. I still have the copies with handwritten message. I am sure his friends and family will arrange a glorious farewell for Made celebrating a splendidly lived life.

    • Although I didn’t know Made personally, I too am saddened by this news. Apart from his tropical design work he was a strong advocate for preserving what is left of Bali’s natural areas, particularly the coastline and beaches, from rampant over-development.

  3. I have mixed feelings about Made. His works were brilliant and I have purchased many of his books and even dealt with him personally on several occasions. In person he was unbearable – rude, shrill and insulting, like a drag queen on steroids. His attitude cost him many clients (as discussed in other articles reporting his death). A death is a tragedy and while it is sad, Made was a pretty rotten human being to many who knew him

  4. I first met Made in Sanur back in 77 in Sanur while he was riding his bike. I had built one of the first Bali Style homes in Mertasari and soon after Made began building his home Villa Bebek not more than 50 meters from the property I had bought there with my Balinese wife Agung. Made could be very rude and sassy at times but what the hell, that was Made
    Made was a great pioneer and a true genius when it came to design and gardening.

  5. Sad to hear. Worked with Made (Michael) in Singapore. He was certainly a rebel against the establishment but left his mark in terms of influence on garden design

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