Few sustainable materials lend themselves to artistic architecture quite like bamboo, a highly renewable grass that is also strong and affordable. When it comes to interior spaces, architects experimenting with this natural building material can really go wild, putting the poles to use in the most surprising ways. Check out these 10 incredibly intricate bamboo interiors, from tea houses in China to a church in Indonesia.
Bamboo Tea Room by Minax, China
500 bamboo pieces measuring six inches in diameter are installed at staggered heights to form an ellipsoid shape for this tea room in China. Some of the poles are fitted with spotlights to eliminate the need for additional lighting, keeping the focus on the effect that the bamboo creates.
Son La Restaurant, Vietnam by Vo Trong Nghia
Hailing from and working most often in Vietnam, the architecture firm Vo Trong Nghia takes inspiration from the country’s cultural traditions to create some of the world’s most intricate and beautiful bamboo structures. This one is ‘Son La Restaurant,’ part of a new hotel complex in a secluded area. The roof of the dining hall is made of ‘lounge,’ a local variety of bamboo that can grow up to 26 feet high.
Tang Palace by Atelier FCJZ
A mixture of poles, strips and composite boards – all made of bamboo – are used to create an undulating roof canopy at the Tang Palace Restaurant in Hangzhou, China. Atelier Feichang Jianzhu took advantage of the height of the existing space to create a distinct dining area that feels cozy and private without being closed off.
Bamboo Courtyard Tea House
The Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse by Sun Wei of HWCD crosses traditional Chinese cultural and architectural traditions with contemporary aesthetics for an elegant and streamlined effect. The floating teahouse features inward-facing pavilions made of bamboo that define indoor/outdoor spaces, set adjacent to more solid brick structures.
Cathedral by Eugenius Pradipto
Stunningly complex, this church by Eugenius Pradipto is a semi-permanent structure in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, built by the community after an earthquake using local materials and traditional construction methods. Hundreds of criss-crossing bamboo rods hold up the cathedral ceiling.
Bamboo Orphanage in Myanmar
Six individual sleeping units make up a small orphanage on the border between Thailand and Burma, offering shelter to refugee children left homeless by conflict in the region. The huts have woven bamboo sides that offer natural ventilation. One cool design feature not often seen elsewhere is the experimental window made up of stacked bamboo tubes.
Bamboo Ceiling in a Factory
The office of a garment factory in the Vietnamese city of Ho Chi Minh gets a gorgeous makeover with a sweeping bamboo canopy cloaking mechanical equipment and lighting fixtures. Hiding these less than visually pleasing elements, the ceiling is draped in a way that mimics the textiles constructed in the factory.
wNw Cafe by Vo Trong Nghia
Encircling an artificial lake, this stunning bamboo cafe by Vo Trong Nghia architects blends beautifully into its natural environment. The wNw Cafe consists of thousands of bamboo shoots to minimize the use of less sustainable materials, and includes a roof made from both bamboo and steel tensile beams. Bent poles create arches throughout the interior spaces, breaking up all the straight lines and adding a sense of movement.
El Guadual School, Colombia
Bamboo poles make up a significant portion of the environmentally friendly El Guadal school in Colombia, a complex that provides food, education and health services to children, pregnant mothers and newborns. The poles line the ceilings inside, provide structural support for outdoor canopies, and offer shade and privacy when used as window screens.