Nangchang Nangchang bamboo installation
by Kengo Kuma

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Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has bent bamboo into walkways and seating areas at this year's Gwangju Design Biennale in South Korea, which opens today.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

Kengo Kuma spilt the bamboo into three-centimetre-wide strips to make it easy to bend, so visitors to the Gwangju Design Biennale can walk over or recline on the springy surfaces.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

Bamboo is a common material in both Japanese and Korean architecture and Kuma used it in this installation for its flexibility and tactility.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

"The objective of my exhibit at the Biennale is to reconnect the human body with architecture," said Kuma.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

On each section the ends of the bamboo strips are attached along two edges of a fixed base, bowing up against each other where the two sides meet in the middle.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

This causes one side to curl back on itself and the other to flow over the top, making a wave shape.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

The curves create seating areas that can be leant up against or laid down on.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

At the biennale the waves outside form a twenty-metre-long passage between two exhibition halls, where loose strands along the top quiver in the wind.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

The direction of the waves is alternated so one side is always open but the walkway is constantly covered.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

The same design continues inside one of the galleries, where staggered sections create smaller pockets of seating space.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

In the dark exhibition space elements are lit from below, illuminating the splaying strands.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

Open until 3 November, the Gwangju Design Biennale also features the travelling Designed To Win exhibition of sport equipment first shown last year at London's Design Museum during the Olympic Games.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

Kuma has used bamboo in his installations on a few occasions, including a concept home based on traditional Japanese interiors and as foliage amongst a topographical landscape of stone and water.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

The architect's latest proposals for a new outpost of the V&A museum in Dundee received the green light last month. He also recently completed a contemporary arts museum with a chequered glass facade in Marseille.

Telepathy bamboo installation by Kengo Kuma

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  • leonard

    Nice light effect but where are the seating areas?