IBUKU is pioneering the use of bamboo as a sustainable building material

“Bamboo buildings are like a living organism, every bamboo pole represents the ‘DNA’ of the building."

Bamboo has long been used as a building material in Asia. But IBUKU is helping to pioneer innovative ways to use the material for design and construction. The material is strong, while also having the compressive force of concrete and the strength-to-weight ratio of steel.

As IBUKU's Defit Wijaya explains: "Bamboo buildings are like a living organism, every bamboo pole represents the ‘DNA’ of the building, each unique like real strands of DNA. The strands of the bamboo ‘DNA’ form a network structure, where each pole has its own specific function, be it in the walls, ceilings, stairs or roof. When they come together, to form a body, it waits to be given a soul by those inhabiting the building.”

IBUKU has constructed not only buildings and bridges out of the material but also furniture and other objects for the home. Because the growth cycle of the material is about four years, this makes it one the most environmentally conscientious building material conceivable.

The company says that in a world where people are re-designing traditional materials to be less ‘bad’, they have decided to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.

"Though bamboo has traditionally been used throughout Asia in short-term structures, new treatment methods have given it a capacity for longer life. Our engineers, architects and designers have created a completely new vocabulary. Not only is bamboo good for the environment, it also helps the people living in that space connect to nature which then enhances quality of life."

Putri Wiwoho, one of IBUKU’s lead interior and furniture Designers, says bamboo has amazing charecteristics when it comes to furniture design.

“Bamboo has many families, ordo, genus and each of them has different characteristics. When we split the pole we can get amazing and beautiful details. We can make anything we dream of from bamboo because of its flexibility. We say wood is masculine, but I believe bamboo is feminine, tender and strong. I imagine that to be the essence of “Ibuku” or ‘my mother’ in English.”