The Bamboo plant has been receiving a lot of hype as being  green and sustainable and designers who are eco-conscious have been trying to incorporate this age old plant  into their designs and products.

Bamboo has been used in Asian products and architecture for centuries. Many traditional Asian products are made with Bamboo, such as chopsticks and home decorative elements. In  interiors, Bamboo has and is being used for floors, for doors and also used structurally as scaffolding and as whole building structures.

The Bamboo plant is strong and clean, and once planted the fully grown plant can be harvested within 3-7 years. Because of their fast growth, the bamboo forests are the easiest forests for man to reproduce.

As a designer, designing spaces with Bamboo is a sound ecological choice. Bamboo is versatile and beautiful;  interiors can be designed using Bamboo in many ways in place of regular hardwood, in applications such as flooring, wall paneling, furniture, wall covering etc.

Living in Thailand, one would think Bamboo is abundant and as a designer, using Bamboo would alleviate the carbon footprint in our world.  But… processed Bamboo is not available here. The only kind of Bamboo that is available is the unprocessed variety where it can be only used for scaffolding. Bamboo for architecture and interior applications in Thailand is imported mostly from China.

Importing Chinese Bamboo and using it for design applications cancels out all the environmental benefits since it has to come from far away and makes our carbon footprint even worse.

We have also discovered that the wonderful properties of  Bamboo are compromised during the manufacturing process as harmful chemicals are added to prevent termite and insect infestation!

Bamboo is a perfect plant, it grows quickly, it’s clean, strong and durable, it is in fact the perfect wood for every application used in interiors.

So why has there been no investments in industrializing this plant in Thailand?

We asked many suppliers , the answer is usually it’s cheaper to import it from China.

Importing it from China defeats the purpose of reducing Thailand carbon footprint.

As designers we have to keep pushing for quality materials made in Thailand to green specifications and which help our industry move forward! May be someone will see the great potential.

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