Bamboo Business: Kent Gration
Stephanie Madison introduces us to the new black with Kent Gration’s bamboo designs.
Bamboo is back. It might even be the new black. More importantly though, it’s about serious design and a sustainable ethos – renewable, biodegradable products boasting structural and aesthetic longevity minus an over-emphasis on visual stimulation, according to Brisbane designer Kent Gration.
An avid scuba diver, Gration’s affinity with the sea means he’s witnessed first hand the impact waste plastic has on the ocean and waterways – a consideration at the crux of his preference for bamboo.
The designer’s work thoughtfully addresses “the overuse of synthetic materials” by using bamboo as an environmental solution and substitute.
Prior to opening his Windsor-based Integration Studio in 2004 Gration spent eight years working for leading firms in Melbourne and Brisbane, and in 2007 launched his premier bamboo furniture range, Wambamboo – using Moso bamboo – a rapidly renewable, durable and environmentally preferred material dating back to 3000 BC.
His designs are characterised by bamboo poles, cross-laminated boards and veneers hand-crafted using CNC-cut components, recyclable materials, non-toxic glues and water-based finishes – each emblazoned with appealing laminated grain patterns akin to strands of DNA.
With his talent for sustainable innovation Gration has received a slew of accolades; more recently winning an Emerging Design Leader award at the inaugural 2010 Queensland Premier’s Design Awards, while his award-winning Constellation Light was exhibited as an installation at this year’s Unlimited: Queensland’s Asia Pacific Design Triennal (October 4 – 6).
Gration’s ethos centres on growing environmental concerns regarding mass-production and the overuse of non-renewable polluting materials in the furniture industry such as synthetics which have a perpetual lifespan.
“By designing objects which don’t have an expected end-of-life we are creating an over-population problem in terms of how many artefacts we choose to keep in our company,” he says.
“Many plastic products are based upon current colourways, forms and finishes, which in many instances, only last a few years in terms of buyer acceptance.
Quality design doesn’t have to adhere to a trend of aesthetic agenda Gration says.
“I really like the concept that good design is really all about intelligent resolution rather than visual over-stimulation.”