Bamboo makes a great basis for sustainable design projects – fast-growing, durable and strong. As this piece shows, there may be little reason to improve on such near-perfect material, since most of these core ideal properties can already be found in its raw form.
The process employed by Gal Ben-Arav is visible in the product: a basic pair of aluminum frames are threaded with rough-cut bamboo stalks, letting strength in numbers provide support for seats and (optional) backs.
But the result does not stop there – imagine shipping: the manufacturer could opt to send only the aluminum, letting you grow your own structural infill (and replacement parts, if needed). And repairs are easy, too, compared to a custom-cut, pristinely-finished, typical board-style outdoor bench.
“I chose to use bamboo in its raw form. In this way, the processing is minimal as well as the invested energy, it can be 100% recycled and the out coming morphology creates a new micro-wild natural environment that can be situated in an urban, industrial and gray environment and revive it.
Bamboo bench has two narratives:
My Inspiration to the bench lies in an image that was taken from the 30′s from my childhood landscapes with two workers leading bundles of papyrus through a swamp (see below). This photograph personally connected me to the bench and guided me to the wild morphology of the design.
The second narrative is the narrative of the product life cycle. Bamboo is not a characteristic species to the Middle East, but its origins are in Asia, however today it is grown in a controlled manner here in Israel. In my vision such a bench reflects a complete system that maintains itself through a life cycle that is built on three repeated main stages that preserve the sustainability values in a full manner:
– Growing bamboo – Establishment of a new agricultural industry, creating new economic opportunities, new sources of income and making the bamboo a local material that saves the need to import.
– Building a bench that integrates in the surrounding living environment in an energy-efficient manufacturing process.
– Recycling the raw material following weathering processes or vandalism that occurs frequently to street furniture. Used bamboo can be recycled to produce packaging or for many other purposes.
Through the design process, I tried to keep the materialism of the bamboo, its natural morphology, its simplicity, but on the other hand, to create a conflict and tension between the natural bamboos to the industrial aluminum casting.” – Gal Ben-Arav