Research project Bamboo Europe launched: towards a sustainable, transparent and local supply chain
Is it possible to create a transparent, sustainable, and local supply chain for processing bamboo for use in interior design, construction and textile production? That question is key in the two-year research project Bamboo Europe (NWO/SIA RAAK-mkb), led by the Professorship Tactical Design. On 17 March 2022, the festive project kick-off took place in Arnhem.
Bamboo is a promising renewable raw material which grows quickly, absorbs large amounts of CO2 and contains useful chemical and mechanical properties. Up until now, it has been imported exclusively from Asia - but now that we have a large-scale bamboo plantation in Europe, the first of its kind and fully functional, this opens up the gate for exploration into the possibilities for a sustainable bamboo supply chain. This new bamboo grown in Europe has a slightly different composition than the Asian variety, which means that more research is needed and much about the bamboo’s properties is still unclear.
Would it be possible to transform the entire supply chain into something sustainable and transparent every step of the way – from cultivation and processing raw material to the semi-finished product and design, all the way up to furniture? The project kick-off is the starting point of a large-scale sustainability experiment, in which the professorship investigates what that would involve. In this, the professorship will be working together closely with the bamboo plantation BambooLogic in Portugal, the Netherlands Open Air Museum, Wageningen University & Research, various companies involved in fibre processing, wood preservation and furniture production, and designers, students and teachers at ArtEZ from several disciplinary backgrounds.
The project will generate knowledge about the principles surrounding sustainability and circular design, which are essential in terms of the energy transition and climate change mitigation objectives in initiatives such as the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and those from the Dutch government to move towards a circular economy. The knowledge gained by this research into a sustainable European-centric supply chain for bamboo, as well as its uses in textile production and interior design, will furthermore aid efforts to reduce deforestation and CO2 emissions globally.
ArtEZ has three researchers who will be involved in the Bamboo Europe project: professor Jeroen van den Eijnde and professors and researchers Tjeerd Veenhoven and Michelle Baggerman. They also form the core team that is leading the entire project. Van den Eijnde and Veenhoven will mainly focus on the interdisciplinary research process of developing a sustainable supply chain for interior design merchandise produced from European-grown bamboo. Baggerman will be involved as a researcher into the possibilities of using European bamboo fibres to create or supplement sustainable textiles.
Over the course of the two-year project, ArtEZ students within the bachelor Product Design will be working on research questions within the framework of the Bamboo Europe research project. They will focus on practically testing prototypes of bamboo-based outdoor furniture. After all, the ultimate sign of a complete supply chain is creating a functional end product.
Partners and financiers
In the context of Bamboo Europe, the Professorship Tactical Design will be collaborating with BambooLogic, Wageningen University & Research, Nederlands Openluchtmuseum, Studio Joris Laarman, Studio Hanna Kooistra, Studio Joris de Groot, Studio met met and Beckeringh Design Amsterdam. The project is financed by NWO/SIA RAAK-mkb.