Material Inspiration: BAMBOO

Bamboo has become a huge inspiration for the ID people module as it will be the dominant material for the co-working shipping container space internally and externally. It will be used for components such as the flooring, roofing and walls, and will mostly be used in its natural tube-like form except for on the floors where it will be seen as smooth varnished bamboo flooring.

About Bamboo


Bamboo is a type of giant grass which grows freely in all continents apart from Europe and Antartica; the grass is dominantly found in North, South and central America all all the way to Patagonia. It is too found in Asia, Japan, China, Australia, and all over Africa. Bamboo can grow up to a staggering 4,700 metres above sea level making it a heavily available and cheap material to work with. There are 1,450 different species of bamboo and 130 non wooden types also making it very versatile when being used as a construction material.(Bamboo Architecture and design by Chris Van Ufflen)

Bamboo was first seen used as a construction material in its native countries as natives realised that the plant grew very quickly at a rate of around ten – thirty centimetres a day. The material has incredible qualities including its strength which is similar to wood and concrete, and a tensile strength very close to steel. Bamboo also has outstanding stability which can be credited to its hollow chamber nodals along the stems meaning the plant can even be used for the construction of skyscrapers, not only this, but the plants elasticity makes it earthquake resistant. The smooth varnished texture of the shoots makes bamboo waterproof, weatherproof and fire resistant, naturally consuming many of the properties which we have to physically install into many other materials by hand.

A decrease in the use of Bamboo has been seen over the past decade due to its reputation as a ‘poor mans wood’ and a ‘cheap material’ which i could personally only see as a benefit. Architect Richard Buckminister Fuller has also become very interested in the use of bamboo as a construction material due to its natural beneficial properties.

Due to its many advantageous properties, bamboo will stand as the main inspiration and material for the coming interior design People module. Bamboo is a beautiful construction material to work with along with being perfect for sturdiness and durability. It is important for bamboo to be dried and harvested in the right way before being used as a construction material otherwise the bamboo shoots can split and become unsteady and rough looking. Within this blog much exploration into bamboo will be visited, and its uses will be seen within many differentiating buildings and interiors.


9aa70862d8903ea76004f14eee6422a1, Moriya, 4 November, 2015

The use of bamboo as a widespread construction material has been investigated by Bath University’s BRE Centre of Innovative Construction Materials (, Ford). Their findings have proven that bamboo is beneficial as it reaches maturity three times faster than normal wood, meaning it grows faster making it cheaper and more available. However, one downfall of the material is its limited durability when it is exposed to UV rays and humidity, as bamboo can dry out and become unstable overtime meaning it can be hard to keep.

In order to modify bamboo overcome these drawbacks the University of Cambridge and Coventry have carried out a few alterations including the combination of bamboo fibres and bio-polymer matrixes and other reinforcing fibres. More studies into removing the limitations of bamboo are still being investigates with the hope of bamboo being used much more widely.


Bamboo Architecture and design by Chris Van Ufflen, 20.01.16, Moriya, 4 November, 2015, Ford, 21st August 2012


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