Over the last few years bamboo has suddenly become the must have sustainable material, where it has acquired multiple uses. Gone are the days where it is used solely for the dietary requirements of Pandas or as a privacy screen for the garden. Manufacturers and designers are using this versatile and flexible material to come up with clever and innovative products.
Bamboo is known for being one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and can generally be found growing in sub-tropical areas in Southeast Asia. A flowering perennial evergreen belonging to the ‘Grass’ family it can reach heights of over 12 meters depending on the species. The giant bamboo being the largest of the family. It thrives in poor soils and on hillsides where nothing else can grow requiring minimal water and survives naturally without pesticides or fertilizers.
Interestingly when the bamboo stems or ‘culms’ emerge from the ground they are at their full diameter and within a single growing season of just 3-4 months they can reach their full height. Over the next 2-3 years the culms start to harden and the plant is considered to be matured. Fungal growth starts to form and over the next 5-8 years causes the stem to collapse and decay. It is between its life span of 3-7 years that the bamboo plant is harvested. This plant is completely sustainable as when harvested this stems are cut rather than the plant itself being up-rooted.
Although bamboo is a grass, when dried, it can become more durable than most hardwoods, making this a great alternative. The sheer variety of colour and style options in bamboo is staggering making this ideal for both contemporary and traditional designs. This is the perfect solution for a living space, but just like other wood flooring, is best avoided in moisture areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Dave keune – Plint Bamboo Lamp
This Dutch designer has used the flexibility of bamboo in the constructin of his ‘Plint Lamp’. These interconnected parts can be opened and closed by hand to change the shape as well as the light production. The individual beauty of the bamboo texture can clearly can clearly be seen in the individual sections.
David Trubridge – Design Floral 600 Bamboo Suspension Lamp
The Floral Suspension lamp is constructed from a single repetitious shape made of untreated bamboo ply and was based on the structure of a geometric polyhedron. It is available in 3 sizes and a variety of finishes, here are examples of the natural and black stained bamboo.
The fibres can be taken from the bamboo stems and used to create fabrics. These are now becoming increasingly popular not only for clothing but also soft furnishings and upholstery.
Fabrics made from bamboo are exceptionally soft and have a luxurious feel. When used in clothing this has an antibacterial and anti- fungal quality making this more suitable for allergy prone and sensitive skins. Bamboo has a thermo–control allowing the skin to breathe and stay cool in warmer weather and retain heat in colder weather helping to you to keep warmer. Bamboo, when combined with other natural materials such as flax, hemp, nettle and wool can result in beautiful natural looking fabrics, making these are great alternative to linen and cotton. Here are 2 examples of bamboo that has been woven with wild nettle on the left and a combination of Yak wool and hemp on the right.
Anthony Marschak – The Becca stool
Many furniture designers are taking inspiration from the “green” concept of renewable materials, bamboo being one of these. Typically used for conservatory furniture, this material has moved on to bigger and more modern designs incorporating timeless craftsmanship, seamless detail and elegant functionality. Anthony Marschak designed the Becca Stool, a multi-functional piece of furniture that can be used as a simple side table, a cushion can be added creating clever seating or when stacked provide dramatic shelving. Finished to a silky polish, the true colour and texture of the natural bamboo can be fully appreciated.
Tom Rossau – Convertible Bamboo Table Design
Danish designer Tom Rossau came up with this ingenious design to solve the problem of not having enough room for a separate dining table and coffee table. The coffee table can simply be extended into a trestle style dining table when having guests round for dinner, making this idea for a small space.
So the next time you’re in a garden centre selecting plants spare a thought for the simple bamboo. It deserves so much more than being plonked in a container that sits on the patio and rustles in the wind. Create an impact with a stylish hard wearing floor or create a talking point with an ingenious piece of furniture or lighting products that not only looks fabulous but is kinder to the environment.
SEIBERT&SMITH (2014) bamboo plant [Online Image] Available from:
DECORAZY (2014) bamboo flooring [Online Image] Available from:
http://www.decorazy.com/innovative-sitting-room-ideas-designed-for-comfort [Accessed: 31.03.2014]
FRONTIER FLOORING SERVICES (2012) summer flooring trends [Online Image] Available from: ; [Accessed: 31.03.2014]
FEMALE WAYS (2012) bamboo plinth pendant [Online Image] Available from:
FEMALE WAYS (2012) bamboo plinth pendant detail [Online Image] Available from:
HOUZZ (2014) Floral 600 Bamboo Suspension natural [Online Image] Available from:
http://www.houzz.com/photos/595876/David-Trubridge-Design-Floral-600-Bamboo-Suspension-Lamp-modern-ceiling-lightin [Accessed: 31.03.2014]
LIGHTOPIA (2014) Floral 600 Bamboo Suspension black [Online Image] Available from:
BAMBOO FABRIC STORE (2012) bamboo and wild nettle fabric [Online Image] Available from: [Accessed: 31.03.2014]
BAMBOO FABRIC STORE (2012) bamboo and yak wool fabric [Online Image] Available from: [Accessed: 31.03.2014]
ECO FRIEND (2014) becca stool with cushion [Online Image] Available from: http://www.ecofriend.com/bamboo-becca-stool-lets-you-sit-store-and-stack.html [Accessed: 31.03.2014]
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INHABITAT (2014) convertible table [Online Image] Available from: http://inhabitat.com/convertible-coffee-table-is-perfect-for-cramped-apartments [Accessed: 31.03.2014]