An underestimated material experiences its renaissance
Bamboo has not had it easy in the furniture sector during the last few decades, and unfortunately we have to admit that there are good reasons for this.
At times no conservatory or hotel lobby was without this hefty seating furniture, whose robust appearance apparently gave it a particularly exotic flair.
However, it very much looks as if this ecologically valuable raw material is now recovering from its negative image. Due to new processing methods bamboo materials, such as bamboo veneer or Plyboo (in other words bamboo plywood) have become important materials for the furniture industry. And the good thing is that it is now possible to overcome the musty colonial aesthetic which bamboo has been associated with.
Bamboo by Artek, Hollow End Table by Brave Space Design and Spring Chair by Modern Bamboo
Bamboo by Artek, Hollow End Table by Brave Space Design and Spring Chair by Modern Bamboo×
The 'supergrass' is grown on enormous plantations, in particular in China. The metre-high trunks are ready for harvesting after only five years and as bamboo is a fast-growing raw material it is unlikely that deforestation will take place. For the manufacture of Plyboo the central part of the bamboo trunk is cut vertically into narrow strips. These strips are compressed and glued into multi-ply sheets of solid wood. Plyboo has a greater degree of hardness than oak and its expansion and shrinkage properties are lower than those of most domestic types of wood. This is especially relevant for parquet flooring, because not so many cracks and joints are generated.
At the beginning of the year the Finnish furniture manufacturer Artek presented Bambu, its first bamboo collection. With his elegant creations designer Henrik Tjaerby demonstrates not just what aesthetic demands present-day bamboo can satisfy, but also above all what a robust and high quality material it is. The grainy and flexible plywood can be bent in all sorts of ways without losing any of its strength.