Bamboo Ring by Kengo Kuma
London Design Festival 2019
Fabrication & Build: Kengo Kuma Lab & Jayhawk
Photography: Ed Reeve
Bamboo (竹) Ring, or ‘Take-wa 竹わ’, was an experiment in the concept of weaving, as explored by Kengo Kuma.
Japanese architect Kuma (founder of Kengo Kuma & Associates) most recently designed the V&A Dundee, his first building in the UK, as well as the New National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics along with Taisei Corporation and Azusa Sekkei.
Inspired by the John Madejski Garden and curated by Clare Farrow, the doughnut-shaped structure – like a nest or cocoon – was created by weaving rings of bamboo and carbon fibre together. For Kuma, working with Ejiri Structural Engineers and the Kengo Kuma Laboratory at The University of Tokyo, the installation was an exploration of pliancy, precision, lightness and strength: by pulling two ends, it naturally de-formed and half of the woven structure was lifted into the air.
Bamboo has been used traditionally in Japanese architecture in part due to its linearity and flexibility, and as a symbol of strength and rapid growth. The basic component of the structure – a 2m-diameter ring – was made from strips of the bamboo Phyllostachys edulis. By combining carbon fibre, a contemporary material, with the traditional material of bamboo and laminating each ring, the resulting effect achieved a certain rigidity while maintaining the unique material properties and beauty of bamboo – a remarkable, sustainable material that resonates with Kuma’s childhood memories and looks into the future of architecture.
Bamboo (竹) Ring, or ‘Take-wa 竹わ’, was intended to be a catalyst for weaving people and place together.