Forming: A Material Habit

Eyewear Oliver Goldsmith, 1950s,
Victoria & Albert Museum Collection

In traditional chinese culture, bamboo is more than just a highly utalitarian grass species; it is a perennial symbol of strength, resilience and flexibility, employed commonly in philosophy, poetry and the visual arts as a metaphor for honorable character and noble spirit.

For thousands of years, bamboo has been successfully utilized in designs for furniture, construction elements, textiles, paper, musical instruments, cookware, bicycles, fishing poles, and containers of all sorts. As one of the fastest growing plants on earth, it is highly sustainable and this presents itself as an ideal medium for contemporary conceptions of good design. Bamboo’s distinctive aesthetic properties can also be expoited for purely decorative purposes. Here is a selection of objects showcasing bamboo at its most beautiful.

Photography Robin Broadbent Illustration Jo Ratcliffe Curation and text Ambra Medda
Japanese Brush Bowl Anonymous, 19th Century.
Wave Chair Fernando and Humberto Campana
with Chi-hsiang Yeh, 2010
Italian Library Ladder Anonymous, c.1975
Bamboo Scaffolding Anonymous, contemporary.
Corrolles Chair 1950s, courtesy Demisch Danant Gallety
Opium Pipe and Case Anonymous, Late 19th Century,
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum collection.
Tripod Chair Joseph-André Motte, 1949
courtesy Demisch Danant Gallery. R & G
Porosity Chair Steven Holl Architects, 2008
courtesy Johnson Trading Company.
Birdcage Liang Qichang
1901, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum collection.
Tea Packaging Assortment 2010, courtesy Moss
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