pinwu presents rong – handmade in hangzhou at BODW
image courtesy of pinwu

 

 

 

designboom is just back from hong kong where we were in town for the 11th edition of BODW business of design week which included a diverse programme of talks and exhibitions with an emphasis on asian design. among the conference speakers was studio pinwu‘s director and co-founder, zhang lei who together with other chief designers jovana bogdanovic and christoph john, has been working on deconstructing traditional chinese crafts, and re-imagining them in a way that makes them applicable to our contemporary context.

pinwu presents rong - handmade in hangzhou at BODW
‘air’ bamboo weaving chair by pinwu
image courtesy of pinwu

 

 

 

since their start four years ago, the china-based studio has been focusing their practice on researching the skilled artistry expressed in crafts originating from the area of yuhang, with a particular curiosity in engaging with porcelain, silk floss, bamboo wood and paper; their explorations precipitating the furniture collection ‘from yuhang‘. their latest initiative sees them continuing the investigation of handicrafts in china, this time surveying those derived from hangzhou. collaborating with 13 designers from home and abroad, pinwu has curated ‘rong – handmade in hangzhou’; inviting the international creatives to engage in deconstructing five materials (silk, porcelain, copper, paper and bamboo) typically used in the production of objects in hangzhou. the five year project will see a different medium explored per annum, with bamboo having been the first.

pinwu presents rong - handmade in hangzhou at BODW
front view
image courtesy of pinwu

 

 

 

working together with local craftsmen, the group has investigated the fibrous constituent from a micro to macro scale — in seven various states such as wood, paper, fibre — which has served as the basis of analysis and fuel for the realization of new furniture and products, that though varied in their outcomes, have managed to maintain a cohesiveness and sensibility towards the possibilities of fabricating things from bamboo. presented at the inno design tech expo 2013 as part of the BODW agenda, ‘rong – handmade in hangzhou’ goes against the grain and society’s obsession with industrial production, reviving the chinese city’s history, culture and crafts, bringing life back to these important elements.

pinwu presents rong - handmade in hangzhou at BODW
detail of the curving seat
image courtesy of pinwu

 

 

 

pinwu’s ‘air’ chair is an unconventional interpretation of traditional bamboo weaving, with the seating piece testing the limits of the wood’s weight and strength. strips of bamboo have been loosely woven to form the shell of the seat which results in an extremely lightweight chair, that has the durability of one that would typically be much heavier.

pinwu presents rong - handmade in hangzhou at BODW
details of the bamboo weaving that forms the shell of the chair
images courtesy of pinwu

pinwu presents rong - handmade in hangzhou at BODW
‘bamboo spring’ by pinwu
image courtesy of pinwu

 

 

 

with ‘bamboo spring’, pinwu continues to exercise the practice of bamboo weaving, this time, intertwining the medium in alternate ways–a continuous ‘8’ that runs the height of the stool forms a spring-like structure that is enveloped in a skin of the same fibre. the object expresses the natural flexibility of bamboo, and its potential in industrial furniture production.

pinwu presents rong - handmade in hangzhou at BODW
the stool sees bamboo being woven in such a way that it provides a spring-like appeal
image courtesy of pinwu

pinwu presents rong - handmade in hangzhou at BODW
up close of the weaving
image courtesy of pinwu

pinwu presents rong - handmade in hangzhou at BODW
a detailed look at how the fibres are intertwined to create the spring-like form
image courtesy of pinwu

pinwu presents rong - handmade in hangzhou at BODW
the base of ‘bamboo spring’
image courtesy of pinwu