Error message

  • Lingotek profile ID 4 not found.
  • Lingotek profile ID 3 not found.
Vera Mulyani, Mars architect

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani
The entrepreneur has sunk her roots in the Golden State as she works toward making life on Mars possible

Vera Mulyani is an award-winning architect and filmmaker as well as founder and CEO of Mars City Design, an international collaboration that is designing and developing sustainable facilities and cities for life on Mars. The Indonesia-born, France-raised entrepreneur has been called a “Marschitect.”

Although her work has an extraterrestrial component, Mulyani believes the geography of California is crucial to mankind’s future and will be constructing habitat prototypes in the Mojave Desert through 3D printing. “It is not enough to just travel to Mars and survive, now we must develop a way in which we can sustainably live and love on Mars,” she says. “It is essential that we call on a new generation of thinkers and innovators to make this a reality.”

We asked Mulyani to share some of her favourite aspects of this planet—specifically in California—and she gladly obliged.

Where do you live? I live in Marina Del Rey, which is south of Santa Monica and Venice Beach.

Why there? The area is known as “Silicon Beach” because there are lots of innovative start-ups, which have established a new, flourishing tech hub outside of Silicon Valley. It attracts quite a unique and diverse crowd who are very arty and creative. I love being part of that energy. I also love being close to the ocean and enjoying the sun.

Who or what is your greatest California love? California is a geyser of innovation and futuristic technology is one of the things that I love most about it. Elon Musk is one of my inspirations—he is living innovation! I also love the diverse colours of California, what I call the “art of life,” everything from the yellow deserts, blue ocean, red sunsets, and green Topanga in the mountains

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? There’s probably a misperception that people are dumb and have a lot of plastic surgery.

What’s the stereotype that most holds true? California really is the world’s trendsetter and technology innovator—our future lifestyles will be created here.

What’s your favourite Golden State splurge? My splurge would be flying a private jet. I have already completed over 20 hours of pilot flying time and simulation training. I dream of taking to the skies, eventually to space, and truly seeing California from Earth’s orbit.

Time for a road trip. Where are you going? I would start off in Malibu for breakfast by the water at Malibu Pier, then travel up the Pacific Coast Highway, driving a Tesla Model S, taking in the amazing ocean views. I’d continue to Santa Barbara, stopping off at small organic vineyards on the way for wine tasting. I’d continue to drive to Los Olivos for lunch and visit local Californian gift shops. At Los Olivos, I’d stroll around town, admire the bougainvillea blossoms, and the smell of wild hibiscus. Then I’d head East, to the Mojave Desert, to arrive in time for sunset. I’d admire the early evening colours on the horizon, which light up the desert with a rainbow hue. I’d find the perfect spot to have a picnic in the dark, look up the night sky and see Mars—along with millions of stars. I’d look out for tiny satellites and comets crossing the Milky Way. If I’m really lucky, I’d be doing this to the sound of coyotes, owls, and crickets in the background.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? Kale-fornia! California’s Salinas Valley is known as the “salad bowl of the world,” because most of our vegetables are grown there. But kale is my favourite—it’s full of fibre, is very versatile, and has a unique taste. In California, you can get kale smoothies, kale chips, kale martinis, even kale nail polish!

Best California song? I could say “Life on Mars” by David Bowie but that became Californian only recently when SpaceX played the song for the Falcon 9 launch of Starman on Elon Musk's Roadster! To be honest, my California soundtrack is the sound of the Malibu waves drumming on the shore.

How would your California dream day unfold? My dream day would go something like this: I’d get up and make French coffee, then sit and do my one-hour “NamMyohoRengeKyo” chanting meditation session. Then I’d make breakfast, a fusion of Indonesian/French/Californian flavours, and take it to the beach. After breakfast, I’d swim for a few miles, and if this was a pure fantasy day I’d hitch a ride with the dolphins to Catalina Island, which lies southwest of Los Angeles. The island is known for its wonderful wildlife and diving. I’d get an adrenalin rush by riding the Zip Line Eco Tour, zooming at 45 miles [72km] per hour at 300 feet [90m] above the canyon floor for almost a mile! Then I’d go on a hike to spot wildlife like bison, bald eagles, and island foxes. I’d end the day with a piña colada on an outside terrace with a lovely view of the ocean.

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani LosAngeles_Hero_Killackey_1280x642_sized
Photo by Ryan Killackey

Southern California

Discover Los Angeles County

See a movie star. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. Play at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, explore world-class museums, or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, America’s entertainment capital, with mega-star wattage and nonstop things to do.

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  --comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the city of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

Plan your California getaway via Los Angeles with these great deals!

Koreatown is just south of central Los Angeles
Courtesy of Sisilia Piring/The Line


This small area with 24-hour energy packs in some of the best restaurants and nightlife in Los Angeles

Just south of Hollywood and west of central Los Angeles lies...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vc_questionnaire_curtisstone_supplied_3g9c6408edited_1280x640_0
Courtesy of Stan Lee

California Questionnaire: Curtis Stone

The Australian native has planted his roots in Los Angeles, where he runs two acclaimed restaurants and lives the California dream

Award-winning chef Curtis Stone was born in Melbourne, established his culinary chops in London, and rose to fame on TV, appearing on multiple...

Maude Restaurant
MasterChef Australia

Maude Restaurant

Taste award-winning chef Curtis Stone’s seasonal multi-course menu in Beverly Hills

Even though Curtis Stone has been a chef since the age of 18, he decided to wait for 20 years to open up his first restaurant. In...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vc_gwenlosangeles_supplied_2016-07-01-gwen-001_1280x640
Courtesy of Gwen

Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant

Fire-based cooking techniques fuel the culinary innovation at Curtis Stone’s Hollywood hotspot

Curtis Stone and his brother Luke both began their culinary careers in an Australian butcher shop, so it makes sense that their joint venture,...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vc_sanpedro_st_rf_517194215_1280x640
Ian McDonnell/Getty Images

San Pedro

LA’s busiest port town is a haven for maritime enthusiasts and seafood lovers

Located at the southern point of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, between Manhattan Beach and Long Beach, is...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vc_questionnaire_zoeydeutch_st_ed_927228114_1280x640
Cara Robbins/Getty Images

California Questionnaire: Zoey Deutch

The up-and-coming actress loves life in the Valley, road trips up the coast, and old-school deli food

For Zoey Deutch, movies are the family business. Her mom, Lea Thompson, starred in Back to the Future, and her dad, Howard Deutch,...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vc_questionnaire_giovanidossantos_st_ed_619317048_1280x640jpg
Shaun Clark / Getty Images

California Questionnaire: Giovani dos Santos

The LA Galaxy forward talks about living in West Hollywood, In-N-Out Burger, and enjoying the chill vibe in Malibu

When Giovani dos Santos joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer of 2015 he immediately became one of the biggest Mexican stars in Major League...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VC_Burbank_Stock_RM_E5HJJY_1280x640
Chris Putnam/Alamy


The entertainment industry’s home base offers a microcosm of stars, shopping and cool tours

If you come to Los Angeles to see where movie magic happens, look to the other side of Hollywood—literally.

'I always...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani Hollywood_collectmoments_1280x642
"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.

Welcoming in the New Year with a burst of flower power, this iconic parade in Pasadena is half of the city’s annual one-two punch of parade-and-football game. The parade features a rotating trio...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VCW_Events_RoseParade_PaulineCheng_preview_686x885
Photo by Pauline Cheng/Flickr
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vca_maps_losangeles
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VCW_D_Hollywood-Hero_Neil Kremer_5316761930_131da16c01_o_1280x642_2
Photo by Neil Kremer/Flickr

Spotlight: Hollywood

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vca_maps_losangeles
Showbiz, celebrities, & endless possibilities

Tinseltown, where starlets are discovered on every street corner (or at least we like to think they are), and the tinted windows of that stretch...


Get a chance to see the crème de la crème of thoroughbreds at this exciting two-day event at historic Santa Anita Park. This unofficial culmination of the thoroughbred racing season brings...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani BreedersCup_preview_686x885
Photo by Jean/Flickr
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vca_maps_losangeles
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VC_CelebSpotting_Stock_RF_514408457_1280x640
SoCal Drive by Laura Flippen

Celebrity Spotting

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vca_maps_losangeles
Where to see stars in Hollywood

Stargazing takes on a different meaning in Tinseltown. While there’s no guarantee you’ll spy a familiar face when you’re here, there are some...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani WestHollywood_SunsetTower_1280x642
Jon Viscott

West Hollywood

Welcome to WeHo, L.A.’s sizzling-hot center of alternative lifestyles

A designer’s dream with shops, architecture, and style

West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City,” and for good reason. Bordering...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani SunsetBlvd_WeHo_1280x642_0
Courtesy of West Hollywood

Sunset Strip Nightlife

Welcome to L.A.’s home of rock ‘n’ roll

Few roads have as much history as this 2-mile-/3.2-km-long section of Sunset Boulevard, bounded by Havenhurst Drive and Doheny Drive. In the 1960s...

For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.
Henry Rollins
May 11 - May 20

America's largest and most prestigious cycling event brings many of the world’s top riders to the Golden State. The 8-stage race changes it up every year, with new courses connecting cities and...

Amgen Tour of California
Amgen Tour of California
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vca_maps_no-region
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Courtesy of Chris Burden/Museum Associates/LACMA

LA Museums

See masterpieces and innovative contemporary works

With its diverse collection of museums, Los Angeles has grown into one of the world’s great cities for art lovers. From the dramatically modern...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VCW_D_LA_T7_Malibu_WestwardBeach_TS-sized_0
Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing


Explore a fabled seafront town with real star power

Stretching for more than 50 kilometres along the Pacific and Highway One, Malibu has achieved...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani RodeoDrive_SharonMollerus_1280x642
Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

Los Angeles County Shopping

Go boutique to bargain in one of the world’s fashion (and shopping) capitals

You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

If you’re ready to whip out the platinum card, head to Rodeo Drive...

Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani Carmel_BeachDog_Farnum_preview_686x885
Alex Farnum
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VCW_SI_FarmersMarket_T4_CV_DavisFrmMkt1_Flippen_preview_686x885
Laura Flippen
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VCW_SI_VIP_T1_MichaelSaechang_preview_686x885
Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani rodeodrive_resized_1280x642

Beverly Hills

Peek into the land of the rich and famous

Opulent estates. Palm-lined Rodeo Drive. Lavish hotels and stretch limousines. Look around Beverly Hills, and it’s no wonder this city gets its...

World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani PalaceHotel_LynGateley_preview_686x885
Lynn Gately/Flickr
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani Shopping_SpecialFeature_preview_686x885_0
South Coast Plaza
Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-coloured pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VCW_SI_T10_Milliken&Feniger_Portrait_preview_686x885
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VeniceBeach_JenJudge_1280x642
Venice by Jen Judge

Venice Beach

Edgy, artsy, and sometimes odd—welcome to L.A.’s out-there beach town

Abutting Santa Monica’s south side (and back in L.A. proper) is Venice Beach—simply Venice to locals. This region, a blend of hip new condos and...

Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of California’s most appealing destinations. The Golden State’s beach towns stand out for...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani SanDiego_LaJolla_preview_686x885
La Jolla by Lucas Himovitz
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VCW_D_LA_T14_IMG_7392-1280x642
Aquarium of the Pacific by Harriot Manley

Long Beach

Experience the many sides of a dynamic coastal city

With beaches and marinas along its waterfront and a busy dining and shopping scene on downtown’s Pine Avenue, Long Beach blends big city...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VCW_D_LA_T15_DisneyConcert_Judge
Disney Concert Hall by Jen Judge

L.A. Architecture

See eye-catching icons and stately landmarks

While Los Angeles is still a young city when compared to places like, say, Rome, it still boasts a unique architectural tradition that spans a...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani VCW_D_T12-LA_Venice_Judge_0
Lancaster's Civic Musical Road is the only "musical" or "singing" road in the United States.
Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in the South, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all, ...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani SC_Chaffin_Eliaschickens_TPS_preview_686x885
Tai Power Seeff
February or March

You certainly won’t be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colourful event in L.A.’s Chinatown. Join thousands of revellers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani ChineseNY_LA_JorgeGonzalez_preview_686x885
Jorge Gonzalez/Flickr
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani vca_maps_losangeles
Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate play lands

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani AmazingThemeParks_preview_868x686
Lucas Himovitz
California Questionnaire: Vera Mulyani Spas_T1_CourtesyRitzCarltonLosAngeles_1280x642
Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles

L.A.'s Poshest Spas

Champagne tastes and caviar treatments

In Tinseltown, one would expect an abundance of extravagant spas, and the city does not disappoint. Treat yourself to an experience of ultimate...