Israelis, as the saying goes, are like a cactus fruit, because they are prickly on the outside but sweet in the middle.
We kind of think Israelis are like bamboo too: strong as steel but soft and smooth. (If you are into eco-chic, you’ll know why we are talking about bamboo.)
Thanks to Designist Dream, we learn that Israelis are getting into bamboo, which is a material perfect for furniture and even kids toys. Those in the know consider bamboo to be one of the best alternatives to wood.Bamboo is “green” for a number of reasons. It is stronger than oak, the most durable hardwood, and it can withstand wear and tear.When lacquered or laminated (we kid you not), bamboo is almost as strong as some kinds of steel. It doesn’t shrink or swell in Jerusalem winters or Tel Aviv summers, making it ideal for furniture and floors. It’s especially good for Israelis who love to throw buckets of water all over the floor when cleaning.
Oh, and did we mention… it grows fast, and when harvested quickly grows new shoots. Bamboo plantations help stabilize the earth – its roots preventing erosion; and when growing sucks up 35% more carbon dioxide than trees.
Now the Israeli connection: according to Ziva at Designist Dream, Shenkar College last week hosted called “Eco-Play with Bamboo,” featuring guest lecturers from Germany, France and China.
They were talking about the use of bamboo in toys, in terms of versatility as a material that can reduce the carbon load on our environment, among other things. We couldn’t find a link to the event, so refer to Ziva to give us some more deets:
Back in 2004, 15 students from Shenkar were invited by designer Peter Handstein, of HaPe International toy company, to study bamboo – how to grow it, cultivate it and work it into design products.HaPe International works with Anji’s natural resources and antique Chinese traditions for fashioning bamboo into children’s toys and other household objects.
The Shenkar students trained with masters and local craftsmen, focusing on toys that were suitable for children between 6 months and 8 years old. And of course taking into consideration issues of safety, developmental stages and imagination.
Some 800 kids from Anji played with the toys designed, and got to offer their ‘expert’ critique.
We can’t say that the toys look sensational, but it’s a start. And this isn’t the first time we’ve featured toys with a green appeal. See also Doodle Dolls.