Welcome to Recycled Interiors Podcast episode 20! Today we are chatting with Jennifer Snyders from House of Bamboo. Through her work, she says the company is aiming to create that place you want to escape to and make it a reality. House of Bamboo began with the vision of a man who wanted Australians to embrace their country and their environment. This man immigrated to Australia from Holland in the 1950’s, having been in the underground as a teenager during WW2. His name is Mark Snyders and he is Jennifer’s father. Coming from war torn Europe, she says he couldn’t help but fall in love instantly with the vast open spaces, the enormity of the land and its beauty. He began to notice that Australians seemed to adopt many traits from Europe and Britain, especially when it came to architecture. He wanted to see the use of materials that were a more natural fit to our climate and conditions. He wanted to see a better integration of indoors and outdoors… So in 1975 House of Bamboo was opened…as his hobby.
Today Jennifer is proud to have taken over the helm. As an architect, she has an appreciation for design and an understanding of the significance on how the built environment affects the human spirit.
Why bamboo and renewable materials?
– Deforestation and increased CO2 emissions threaten the earth’s biodiversity and the very air we breathe.
– Every 2 seconds one football field of natural forest is being cut down…
– A tree of 15metres once cut will take 60 years to regroup.
How long do you think a bamboo stalk of 15 metres will take re regrow? The answer is 59 days.
Bamboo releases 35% more oxygen than trees and captures up to 4 times as much carbon dioxide than trees…So when nature gives us a plant that replenishes itself as quickly as bamboo doesn’t it make sense to use this raw material?
Jennifer has invested and will continue to, into plantations to ensure the sustainability of the materials they use. They harvest when the plant is at its best maturity to ensure you receive the highest quality of material, and they manage their harvest to ensure continued regeneration and sustainability.
Enjoy the episode!
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Things you will want to remember from the show
- There are 2 basic types of bamboo – running bamboo (usually used in the construction industry) and clumping bamboo, often used in gardens as it does not run and has a root system 1mx1m and becomes a beautiful plant in your garden
- We use it for construction, decorating and food
- Moso Bamboo is often used in flooring which grows rapidly, and is the largest amount available in the world
- It has a 7 year lifecycle if harvesting properly – you can regenerate a whole forest in 7 years, whereas timber is 20 – 50 years
- Bamboo absorbs 4 times more CO2 than trees and releases 35% more oxygen, it does not require pesticides and requires less water
- Most bamboo exists in China, which is where most materials come from, South America also have a fair amount and are working towards building projects there which are interesting to follow, India is also starting to work towards these areas
- House of Bamboo work towards mostly decorating and making things look better both interior and exterior – walls, ceiling, flooring, shading, decking, fencing
- You can line walls with bamboo – panels are available, benchtops are also available, as well as stair treads
- You can create an entire look – for benchtops you still need an oil or other finish to make it waterproof – it is a wood and needs to be cared for
- In Asia they use the raw form of bamboo to build homes, it is not designed to be around forever – this means they are transient. Eventually they will need to build again. In the western world we engineer it a lot more – work is happening to produce engineered bamboo that mimics timber to be used in construction – but that means more energy use, processing etc
- In South America they are using the raw bamboo form to start bridges which is an interesting direction
- Bamboo flooring – evolved quickly in popularity
- There are 2 types – most popular is strand woven, where they compress the bamboo to make it very dense. As it got more popular, more players came into the market, which means the quality is down to the processing of how they manufacture it. Shortcuts can be made and retailers do not necessarily know how to pick that up. If buying it, be sure to buy from certified industry members who follow the correct criteria and you should know it is a good product – look for the FSC label, the same as with timber
- Also be aware that fabrics made from bamboo are not necessarily eco friendly or sustainable – check out my article about Ettitude, who use a more sustainable form of bamboo lyocell for fabric – be aware of the other types of bamboo fabrics which use high processing and chemicals
- There are different colour finishes with flooring, most of it comes from China
- It can be used as a shading product outdoors – filters light but reduces heat
- Used for decking or along fences to break the heat from colorbond or for privacy
- Wallpaper can be made from jute, hemp, or the skin of the bamboo which is very textured
- In design you need to consider durability – materials should stand up over time, utility – it needs to be functional, and there should be beauty – delight people and raise their spirits
- Design should be about what you like and what makes you feel good
You can head to the House of Bamboo site where they have a network of installers, can send samples and also assist with the range of products.
Please head to iTunes to subscribe and leave us a review if you love the show as it helps us to get it out there and make a difference. You can also listen on Stitcher and leave a review over there, or just sit back and listen on the blog. Thank you for being here.