Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Years ago on our first trip to Hong Kong one particular image stood out for me.  It wasn't the majesty of the city of Hong Kong or it's beautiful skyline, it was the incredible bamboo scaffolding used on construction projects.  These seamingly flimsy structures went up for a huge number of floors. Obviously Bamboo is amazingly strong, in fact it has 5 times the tensile strength of steel! The scaffolding look almost like works of art.

John Hardy built a huge jewelry business once employing over 800 craftsmen in Bali.  He witnessed how Balinese craftsmen use bamboo for almost everything, from baskets to buildings. Beginning in 2006 he and his wife Cynthia began to build their dream, a school built with bamboo. After selling his jewelry business in 2009 he devoted all his creativity and efforts to the school. 

Eventually their dream came through. These are some of the bamboo structures at the Green School property in Abiansemal, Bali, along the Ayung River.

"And here it is, it's called Green School.  I know it doesn't look like a school but it's beautiful, sustainable, and we teach children that the world is indestructible and they can make a difference!"

John choose bamboo to build the school because of it's sustainability, strength, beauty, flexibility, and carbon sequestration capacity.  Throughout Asia, bamboo has always been regarded as sacred. The mystique and beauty of the bamboo forest has been used as themes for paintings, jade carvings, and pottery. This classroom really is wonderful don't you think?

The top image shows an interior view at Green School. The bridge on the school property spans the river below and is entirely made with bamboo.

The Hardy's daughter, Elora, was once a designer with Donna Karan. She returned to Bali to assist with her dad's big dreams. She founded Ibuku in 2010 devoted to the luxury use of bamboo in architecture and furniture. The workers above are working on a multi-story private residence.

This is the finished six-story home her company built for a client . I find it simply amazing!

Elora inhereted her father's passion for bamboo and used her background in fashion   to have a wedding dress made from...BAMBOO! She is pictured on her wedding day with husband Rajiv in 2013.

Furniture designs from "Ibuku."

On a private Indonesian island, only 50 miles from Singapore is a sustainable eco-resort called Cempedak Villas. Hotel developer, Andrew Dixon, and his architect, Miles Humphrey work on ideas with their bamboo expert, Chiko Wirahadi.

My inspiration for this piece came to me while getting a haircut last week! My barber's son is an avid cyclist and is building a bamboo frame road bike. I thought it was a very cool idea!  I love reading about designers and the creative community developing new ideas for one of nature's most amazing plants.

***You will really enjoy these YouTube videos on the Green School and an amazing multi-story residence made from bamboo.

Image credits: Green School, Ibuku, Jonas Peterson Photography, Travel & Leisure, Calfee Bikes

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