July 31, 2013
Busy with Bamboo DNA at Coachella!
Bamboo, our primary material, has been used for centuries around the world and has proved to be an amazing and durable building material. It is flexible, strong, and relatively lightweight-- not to mention beautiful and rapidly renewable. There are a few amazing designer/artisans building with it nowadays who are pushing the limits of the material. Today we wanted to feature a stunning bamboo sculpture made by Bamboo DNA for the 2008 Coachella music festival.
Bamboo DNA is the brainchild of Gerard Minakawa, a native New Yorker and graduate of the Rhode Island School Design. Minakawa employs a team of experienced, hard working bamboo artisans including Grove co-founder Ken Tomita back in the day. He designs work on a massive scale, building structures at events all around the country including Burning Man, Cochella Music Festival, and the Electric Daisy Carnival. The sculptures are wild, innovative, and often employ intricate mathematics into their forms. (We love the way they look at night all lit up with fluorescents!)
This particular sculpture was built over 3 weeks time with an army of 30+ volunteers who worked through the day and night to complete the project. First, a giant bamboo mesh was woven on the ground. Bundles of giant guadua bamboo poles were lashed together using traditional binding techniques with rope and pins to form super-columns over 80ft tall! Modern rigging techniques were used to erect the sculpture using 4 cranes and 2 reach-forks.
It was beautiful to look at, but the sculpture also had the deeper purpose of acting as a place of rest and rejuvenation for festival goers. Today Bamboo DNA continues to push the envelope of using bamboo for sculpture. Ken is grateful he had the chance to work with and learn about bamboo from Minakawa, and so are we!
Written by Mike Schultz. He is an oil painter from Ithaca, New York. When he is not working for Grove, he’s painting and drawing to his heart’s content. You can see his work on his blog and his website.