House with the bamboo door…
From floors to floor coverings, tableware to toothbrushes, furniture to lighting, there’s nothing you can’t make in bamboo these days
Given the times we live in, it is not an understatement to say that sustainability has become a buzzword in every sphere of our lives, including design and decor. Indeed, with sustainable design being not just about preserving our present but also about protecting the future, little wonder then that it is already the biggest mantra for 2022.
“The use of materials that are responsibly sourced, reimagining of local crafts, supporting local artists and an appreciation of artisanal products have spurred this movement and there is a growing awareness amongst homeowners on adopting a more responsible, sustainable lifestyle,” says Sharika Sharma, Business Lead, Mangrove Collective, a team of passionate furniture designers who aim to make the best of Indian design-and-build skills.
Indeed, when it comes to local materials, few are more sustainable and eco-friendlier than bamboo. From floors to floor coverings, tableware to toothbrushes, furniture to lighting to accessories, there’s nothing you can’t make in bamboo these days. And we’re not talking overly rough and rustic here as it used to be in the old days, but uberly chic and stylish as it is today.
A natural composite material belonging to the grass family of Poaceae, bamboos are a diverse group of plants that are one of the tallest and fastest-growing plants in the grass family. Given that they are lightweight, naturally moisture-resistant, highly durable, low-cost and aesthetic in appearance, they have become a favourite with designers and architects alike.
“Decorating with bamboo gives a space an earthy appeal which exudes an ambience of understated luxury. It lends your home a natural, authentic and warm feel,” says Paushika Gupta, Founder and Principal Designer, Paushika Gupta Architect+Design. “Used in lampshades, it provides a visually interesting contrast from traditional shades and channels the light into the room by accentuating the earthy element. Bamboo light fixtures allow light to permeate through the strands of bamboo as well,” she adds.
Devika Khosla, Creative Director, The Works Interiors, voices for the material’s versatility. “It is ideal for chairs, stools, storage units, partitions and screens. And for a more versatile look, it can be combined with materials like wood, laminate, glass and stone,” she says. “Bamboo in its natural habitat releases much more oxygen than traditional wood. Moreover, its strong roots help hold the soil together, making it more stable while reducing the loss of the topsoil during rains and landslides,” she adds.
What Radeesh Shetty, Founder-Director, Beruru, an outdoor furniture brand, likes about bamboo is its ease of use. “It is virtually maintenance-free and perfect for the minimalistic look. And the best part is that it does not swell or shrink as compared to hardwood,” he says.
“Raw thick bamboo can also be used as a floor-to-ceiling divider between two rooms,” says Raghunandan Saraf, founder and CEO of Saraf Furniture. Bamboo frames for pictures and mirrors, bamboo planters, floor mats as well as tableware are extremely elegant and eco-friendly, he adds. And yes, a small, live, bamboo plant brings good Feng Shui into your home as well, he advises.
Now, for some care and upkeep tips. Like all natural products, bamboo furniture and accessories do need some maintenance in the form of dusting and polishing. “Occasionally wiping down with a slight damp cloth and regular polishing with linseed oil will make sure it looks good and lasts longer,” says Shetty.
In case the bamboo has cracked due to weather exposure or age, fix the damage by sanding the area with sandpaper after which it can be polished. “It is important to keep in mind that wet bamboo becomes soft, hence do not use too much concentrated pressure on a single point when damp which could cause it to sag,” adds Sharma.