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Furniture Style: Bamboo – Asian furniture

Bamboo, a perennial evergreen, grows in tribes, a taxonomic rank between family and genus.  Fast growing and with mostly hollow stems, it finds purpose for many things, from food to bicycles (really), but also including both architecture and furniture design.

Sitting area in bamboo house in Bali

Sitting area in bamboo house in Bali

 Cultural uses

As staple in Asia, its impact across Asian cultures is fascinating.

  • As part of Chinese cultural lore, bamboo is one of the four gentlemen (the other three being the orchid, plum blossom and chrysanthemum).
  • In Japan, it sometimes protects a Shinto shrine from evil.
  • In Vietnam, bamboo represents the spirit of a Vietnamese martial art form called Vovinam.

Furniture design

Aside from its cultural implications, however, bamboo makes for an excellent furniture design material and understandably makes up an important section of Asian furniture.

  • In Western designs, the style and use of bamboo:
    • is sometimes referred to as Modern Asian
    • was popular in the West in the 1960s and 1970s, especially as patio furniture (along with rattan)
    • lately making a comeback, starting with the eco-warriors out there who value bamboo for its sustainability and the contribution it makes to emerging Asian economies that grow, harvest, treat and sell the bamboo.

Asian furniture design is more than bamboo

The use of bamboo typifies this style perhaps because of the strong ties between bamboo and Asia.  However, Asian design includes:

  • many dark-coloured hardwoods often with a high-gloss finish
  • red combined with gold accent colours,
  • luxurious fabrics such as silk

A note about bamboo

  • They rarely if ever flower.  But when they do, they often die after the flower goes.
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One comment on “Furniture Style: Bamboo – Asian furniture

  1. John
    June 23, 2013

    Great point about how we mentally think bamboo in asian furnishings yet there are obviously other great choices that keep with the theme.

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