Bamboo showcases sustainable qualities, nuanced natural textures, and hardwearing characteristics that make it ideal for an array of design applications. Acclaimed for its design-forward aesthetics, physical strength, and environmental benefits, bamboo is becoming increasingly popular as a material in architecture, interior, and industrial design. Bamboo’s broad selection of interior uses includes carpet, textiles, flooring, and furniture, while its physical strength and durability also allow the tall, hearty grass to be aptly utilized as a building material for scaffolding, bridges, houses, buildings, and more. The information that follows offers a handful of insights into some of the benefits of bamboo.
It has been around for millennia
Bamboo’s historical roots span cultures, civilizations, and centuries. There’s evidence of bamboo being used to hold up simple suspension bridges that have stood in China and India since at least the 10th century. Early records of bamboo as a material used for furniture can be traced back to Britain during the 19th century, with poles being imported for the most part from Japan, while Chinese artworks made from bamboo date as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries. Additionally, bamboo was an identifiable element of the Chinoiserie decorative-arts style that was prominent in Europe from the 17th century onwards. Bamboo was also historically used for the handmade production of paper, while bamboo pulp was later used to create fibers used for yarn and fabric.
It’s one of the fastest-growing plants in the world
Bamboo grows quickly—on average It grows two to three times faster than the fastest growing wood—with little maintenance required. The plant can grow up to four feet per day, and, an entire forest can stem from one shoot of bamboo. Planted in the soil horizontally and below the ground, bamboo can grow all around the world. Bamboo is remarkably thick and due to its interconnected root system, and bamboo groves regenerate at much faster rate than timber.
It rivals the strength of steel
Bamboo is a natural composite material with a higher compressive strength than wood, brick, or concrete, and a tensile strength that is on par with steel, making it very valuable for construction and building purposes. Bamboo can be used for a wide variety of building purposes, such as interior and exterior walls, supporting columns, structural frames, rafters, roofing, and more. It can also be cut into thin strips, flattened, then boiled and dried to create laminated sheets and planks.
It is a renewable resource with sustainable advantages
With an ability to grow rapidly, bamboo can be continually harvested with minimal environmental impact. When harvested, it regrows without having to be replanted since it self-regenerates from its own roots. While most trees can only be harvested every 25 to 50 years, certain species of bamboo can be harvested every three to six years. Bamboo is readily available and replenishable in many parts of the world. It releases nearly 35 percent more oxygen and absorbs nearly 35 percent more carbon dioxide than most trees. Bamboo planting can slow deforestation, providing an alternative source of timber for the construction industry and cellulose fiber for the textile industry.
Its fibers can be made into lightweight, breathable textiles
Bamboo textiles can be produced in a number of different ways. While bamboo viscose makes up the majority of bamboo fabrics produced worldwide, high-quality bamboo fabrics are made with production practices that do not extract cellulose. Following this method, a natural enzyme is used on crushed bamboo wood fibers, which are then washed and spun into yarn. Sometimes called bamboo linen, these fabrics usually yield a soft, silky texture.