kengo kuma interweaves bamboo and carbon at london design festival 2019

kengo kuma interweaves bamboo and carbon at london design festival 2019

nestled into the garden of the victoria and albert museum, kengo kuma weaves a seemingly intricate yet rigid ‘bamboo ring’ for the london design festival 2019. the cocoon-like temporary structure continues the japanese architect’s use of natural materials – as seen in the newly designed V&A dundee – but acts as an experimentation of weaving.

all images courtesy of the london design festival © ed reeve



architect gottfried semper once said, ‘architecture is founded on the act of weaving’, and I’m influenced by his message,kengo kuma exclusively tells designboom.animals build their nests with natural materials available to them (which means they are also alive), and we have done the same thing with this installation. it is totally natural.



as its name suggests, kengo kuma’s ‘bamboo ring’ for the london design festival 2019 is crafted from the fast-growing yet strong wood. forming a doughbut-shaped structure, it is built from 2m diameter ring that are laced with carbon fiber on its interior. the mixture of these ‘fibers’ achieves a material that is said to be 10 times more rigid than usual bamboo.


carbon and bamboo – both essentially exist as fibers – so I believed their chemistry would be perfect together. you see the bamboo on the surface and carbon from the back. this means the installation offers various ways of seeing,’ ponders kuma.



the weaved strips of bamboo and carbon fiber ensure the overall design maintains the unique properties and beauty of the wood, which is traditionally used in japanese architecture. however, at the same time, it highlights how the timber can become lighter, stronger and more precise. if one were to pull any two ends of the structure, it would naturally deform with half of it lifting into the air like a continuous ring. the weaving experiment highlights the relationship between bamboo and other materials, and how the wood can be used flexibly in the modern design.



some people will it find it traditional, and others might think it is very modern. either way, your sense will be tested when visiting this installation,concludes the architect.



architect kengo kuma by bamboo ring
image © designboom



project info:


partner: OPPO.

further partners: komatsu matereANA (all nippon airways), and jayhawk fine art

design team (kuma lab): kengo kuma, toshiki hirano, kohyoh yang, hiroki awaji, tomohisa kawase

fabrication team at komatsu matere in japan: alexander mladenov, cristina mordeglia, luciana tenorio, simone parola, sarah wellesley, valentin rodriguez de las cuevas

event: london design festival

location: john madejski garden, victoria & albert museum, london, UK

dates: 14-22 september, 2019

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