Imagineer and Bridge Artistic Director Orit Azaz are developing an ambitious new public art project, Bridge2Bamboo (working title), building on the themes bridging divides and connecting across difference.
Inspired by the bridge kits created in 2019 – which invited people to build a self-supporting bridge, inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s design – we wanted to go further.
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 and the British Council, Imagineer is now working with partners across the globe as we research and develop Bridge2Bamboo.
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 Bridge2Bamboo 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.
Our R&D work will culminate in Autumn 2021, when we will begin to craft a new creative concept for Bridge2Bamboo.
The resulting ambitious public art project will be made public in 2022 – watch this space.
Bridge2Bamboo 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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