Michael Kelberman

Grow It Yourself is an attempt to grow bamboo into living furniture. The furniture continues to grow while serving its new function. Bamboo shoots are placed in an empty, bio-plastic mold. Through physical constraint, the bamboo takes the shape of its container. As the bamboo canes (the process in which it hardens), the mold may be removed for further use.

GIY investigates bamboo’s gravitropism, or it’s desire to grow upward. By building an apparatus for rotating the bamboo on two axes, three-dimensional shapes may be coaxed out of the plant. By monitoring growth rate enough consistency may be achieved to warrant a system for automation. Said system could be as simple as a user-reminder system through call generation, or as sophisticated as motorizing the apparatus. The goal is to automate shapes into the plant by changing stimuli (in this case gravity) in proportion to its growth rate. The aesthetic would therefore be a collaboration between the designer and nature.

Living furniture introduces new relationships between owner and product. The time and nurturing invested into growing furniture lessens the likelihood that he will discard. This challenges the existing consumer model. In lieu of buying a new piece the owner may prune or graft limbs for a new purpose.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010