design


People know Star Bamboo for our eco-friendly bamboo flooring, but we also offer other bamboo products. One of our most popular and versatile products is bamboo veneer.

Bamboo veneer are thin sheets of bamboo material, with a frieze cotton backing to minimise breakage. They typically come in 4′ by 8′ sheets of 0.6mm thickness, and are made by thinly slicing big blocks of bamboo material.

The beauty of bamboo veneer is its flexibility. Our bamboo material, like that of bamboo flooring, is very hard and strong. But this strength can be a double-edged sword, making it difficult to mould and press.

Bamboo veneer, on the other hand, is so flexible that it can be used to wrap curved surfaces. The most popular application of bamboo veneer is on kitchen and bedroom cabinets.

But it can be so much more than that.

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Bamboo is a beautiful sustainable material. It’s strong, durable and extremely fast growing. Did you know that some species of bamboo have been known to grow an astonishing 1 metre in a single day?

No wonder companies have been making all sorts of products from it for years, from flooring to chopping boards and other household items.

Star Bamboo was one of the first companies to make furniture out of the bamboo material. But it’s a matter of time before other companies caught on to this.

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I came across bamboo speakers by a Japanese designer Fumi Masuda this morning while having my daily dose of green blogs. Sounds like a good idea.

When friends heard I was in the bamboo flooring line in 2001, a few of them audiophiles came asking for bamboo speakers and LP turntables to be fabricated.

Now, I’m not sure whether there’re any actual audio benefits to using bamboo. The high density and strength of bamboo could dampen vibrations and contribute to a purer sound.

Well, our company was (and still is) focused on producing flooring and never got around to this little project.

I did a Google search and it turns out that Fumi Masuda wasn’t the first. But there are some interesting differences among them.

Masuda made his speaker boxes using bamboo material similar to our bamboo flooring:

Bamboo speakers by Fumi Masuda

There’s also the Bird-Electron EZ-TAKEGTF2, which made clever use of a bamboo pole as the speaker body:

Bamboo speakers by Bird Electron

and even a bamboo speaker diaphragm created by Panasonic:

Bamboo speakers by Panasonic

I don’t know how commercially successful the above products will be, but it’s certainly a great showcase of the versatility of bamboo.

This has got to be the Coolest Chair in the World.

Check out the “Flexible Love”, an accordion folding chair made from recycled wood and paper:

A translation for those who don’t understand Mandarin: Hello, this is “Flexible Love”, an expandable lover’s chair. It can seat 1, 4, 8 or even 16 people! It has also many different designs – “S” shape, “U” shape, and lastly the round shape. This is “Flexible Love”.

“Flexible Love” is the name of an amazing piece of furniture design. You can change the size and design instantly with a simple tug.

It’s been generating buzz on the Internet for a while now, before I stumbled upon it.

I simply love it.

The designer is a young Taiwanese college student, who was inspired by the honeycomb structure used in paper pallets. It doesn’t look very comfortable to my eye, but it’s strong enough to take the weight of 16 people.

With a retail price tag of US$799 prices ranging from US$300 to US$540, these were never going to sell in large volumes. Why would people pay a premium for furniture made from “widely-available, low-cost recycled materials”?

Indeed, Flexible Love is envisaged to be a line of “experimental furniture”.

Such fresh designs are great for generating interest and awareness in use of eco-friendly materials in furniture production.

And it has accomplished that wonderfully.

Update (3 May 2007): A reader alerted me (thanks Marc!) to a Canadian design company Molo Design, which has an entire range of flexible products. They’re not eco-friendly, but are at least recyclable. This probably provided the inspiration for Flexible Love, but hey, don’t we all borrow ideas from one another? 😉

Update (8 May 2007): Pinzaan, the company behind Flexible Love, alerted me that the prices for their Flexible Love series are actually more affordable than I had thought. The original link in my blog wasn’t an authorised Flexible Love reseller, which explains why they couldn’t get their grubby hands on it!