India is the second largest bamboo growing country in the world. On the occasion of World Bamboo Day, celebrated on September 18, DH on Saturday asked design studios what’s new in bamboo furniture and decor design.
Established in 2017, Tripura-based Silpakarman creates everything from bamboo – furniture, home decor and utility products. Akshya Shree, founder and CEO, says their goal is to create a product that “could solve modern problems with a sustainable and aesthetic touch.”
They work with over 250 artisans in the state of Tripura, most of whom are tribal. Artisans have the freedom to change the design as they know the parts of bamboo well.
One of their latest offerings is the Bambar, a rolling bamboo bar. “Craftsmen were told we want something that people can keep in small homes. They made something compact and easy to move. There are racks for wine bottles and glasses and a full station for mixing drinks,” she says.
They also make mugs and kitchenware. “The laptop stand we designed has three levels and can be used in three ways. It can be used as a table, a laptop stand and for sketching or reading,” she explains.
After international exposure and building a relationship with artisans, their designs went through many innovations. Their bamboo mug has gone through 11 design changes. Their folding bamboo chair has also gone through multiple iterations, says Akshya.
Many artisans use vibrant colors when working with bamboo. “I saw some colorful mats. We usually go for a natural look, but this inspired me to use colors,” adds Akshya.
Varsha Bajaj, founder of Canboo, started an Instagram page to showcase what artisans are doing during the pandemic. It soon became a successful business when she connected with some of these artisans.
“I found these designs on the internet. Many of these designer items are only available in Indonesia and China. Since our northeastern culture is rich in cane crafts, I decided to work on it,” she says.
She started the Guwahati-based business with products like fruits, laundry and table baskets. Soon after, he also started designing furniture. Starting with smaller pieces like tables and chairs, she slowly progressed to larger pieces of furniture like dining tables and beds.
People usually use the outer part of bamboo in furniture, but in a new project related to the management of hotels and private lodgings, she proposed a design where the frame is made of wood and the inside of bamboo is placed on it.
One of their latest collections was furniture with a color theme. Based on the shape of flowers, it includes a sofa and a side table. Another is the peacock-themed chair, which comes in about four variants, ranging between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000 each.
Ahmedabad-based Rhizome, founded by Rebecca Rubens, designs functional furniture.
They make furniture for different spaces, including furniture that helps make the most of small spaces.
“People have different lifestyles. Some live in smaller spaces and have alternative lifestyles. There are people without children and even groups of friends who live together. During the pandemic, when people were working from home, it was called space maximization,” she says.
Rebecca started designing furniture for balconies and outdoor spaces in apartments. Because bamboo works well outdoors, it makes furniture for semi-covered areas such as patios. “We’re also working on indoor furniture,” adds Rebecca. Their parts can be customized.
‘Soop’, their latest collection, is inspired by the soap used to sift grains. Their ‘Fan’ collection showcases bamboo in a chopped way. The latest, ‘Skinny’, is a collection of folding chairs that are lightweight.
Craft and technology
Shashank Gautam’s Mianzi, based in Madhya Pradesh, not only makes sustainable but also aesthetically pleasing designs in bamboo products.
“I wanted to make things that were equally comparable to anything made of plastic or metal. I found that there was a gap in the development of technology in bamboo products,” he says. They also manufacture furniture, lighting, storage products and home decor. Modularity is a major theme. The latest collection, Metamorphosis, is futuristic as it plays with the structure of a lamp. “I design five to six shapes and then combine them. There are so many possibilities with lamps,” he says.
The collection consists of 16 different pendants and 12 linear hanging lamps. Shashank also deals in the manufacture of wall, table and floor lamps.
The butterfly chair took two years to design and is made of six parts that fit together to make the chair slim and compact.
Another exciting collection, the ‘Black Edit’ is made from all black bamboo pieces. This limited edition includes items ranging from furniture to trays.
Yogesh Shinde, founder of Bamboo India, makes items for everyday use, including desk organizers and speakers, out of bamboo. Now they focus on bamboo toothbrushes and dental care. Says Yogesh, “We started handcrafting 50-100 brushes a day. Today we can produce up to 50,000 brushes a day.”
With this product, they have helped avoid over 24 lakh kg of plastic waste till date. The brand is currently working on adding new products to its dental care line, such as bamboo floss, interdental brushes and tongue brushes.