Projects / Imagine Bamboo

Imagineer, with Artistic Director Orit Azaz, is developing an ambitious new public art project for 2022, Imagine Bamboo.

Artists, designers, engineers and communities from across the UK, and internationally, are coming together to explore the potential of bamboo – widely held to be the future sustainable building material for the planet.

Imagine Bamboo has evolved from Bridge, a major outdoor arts project that took place 2018-2021, which brought together people who wouldn’t normally meet.

In 2021 we asked ourselves, could we invite people to design and build similar freestanding outdoor structures that could then combine to create one giant installation?

As part of our research, we met Neil Thomas, co-director of distinctive structural engineering company Atelier One, who explained the importance of bamboo in relation to sustainability and the climate crisis.

Bamboo grows across the globe, including in the UK and Europe, and is widely held by a growing network of engineers, architects and activists to be ‘the future sustainable building material for the planet’ – we were excited by the potential to collaborate with people from across the world to exchange skills and ideas and create beautiful strong lightweight structures at a variety of scales.

With support from Arts Council England, Birmingham 2022 Festival and the British Council, Imagineer is now working with partners across the globe as we research and develop Imagine Bamboo.

This short film explains our R&D process and the exciting international collaborations that have been formed in 2021:

Bamboo Creative Exchange Lab

In May 2021, artists, architects, engineers and green entrepreneurs from the UK, Bali, India and Ghana came together for a Bamboo Creative Exchange Lab, led by Imagine Bamboo artistic director Orit Azaz.

Working remotely, we exchanged ideas and experiences about designing, making and building with bamboo. We explored the tensions involved in developing bamboo as a sustainable building material for the planet.

Our thanks to Lab partners Bamboo U, Rhizome, Ghana Bamboo Bikes and Atelier One for sharing their expertise in bamboo design and build.

Pilot Community Projects

Imagineer worked with artists, partners and residents in Bourne, Redcar, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Coventry and Birmingham during summer 2021 to explore the creative possibilities of bamboo grown in UK and Europe. Groups were involved in design and model-making, 3D sketching and crafting, all using bamboo.

Our thanks to partners South Kesteven District Council, Festival of Thrift, Appetite Stoke and University of Birmingham / Winterbourne House and Garden and artists Lou Jones, Pete Gunson, Kim Mountford, Lucy Tomlins and Ling Tan.

What’s Next?
During 2022 we continue to explore the possibilities of bamboo as a creative material, working alongside collaborators across the UK and around the globe.

Explore the website to find out what’s happening now – and you can join in the conversation on social media using #ImagineBamboo.

Imagine Bamboo R&D has been commissioned as part of the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Programme in partnership with our International Research & Development funder, The British Council. It is supported by Arts Council England.

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