The National Taiwan Craft Research Institute is concerned with the revitalization and development of Taiwan’s traditional crafts skills and industries. We designed this collection as part of the Institute’s Yii series, a new project with art direction by Gijs Bakker, co-founder of Droog Design.
Our task was to discover sources for new designs through research into Taiwan’s traditional bamboo handicrafts and furniture. We were fascinated by bamboo-working techniques, and decided to draw our inspiration for a chair from these, rather than to work with the material itself. We applied bamboo-working techniques to tubular steel pipes, which can be easily mass-produced with standard levels of quality. Borrowing bamboo handicraft techniques like weaving together thinly sliced sections and joining parts by wrapping them around each other allowed us to give the hard metal a sense of pliancy.
The bamboo artisans visited the metal workshop regularly, and we had many conversations about the project and its capacities. The bamboo-steel chair is the fruit of these conversations: a symbol of new futures for traditional crafts through the cross-fertilization of different techniques and materials.
We also designed a table as the second round for the collection. We chose another technique in which a length of bamboo is sliced vertically into thinner lengths which are then woven together to create legs and a tabletop from a single piece, and applied this method to a steel pipe. The result is structural balance and a new design sensibility until now nonexistent in steel furniture.