Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bamboo Helps Bali Village Stay in Step With Nature

Those looking for a luxury abode that couples cutting-edge style and environmental sensibility should look no further than the Green Village, located 25 minutes outside the arts community of Ubud. 

Set on two hectares of land along the Agung river, the striking bamboo villas, each one unique, are designed to blend into the flow of the surrounding landscape. 

While some of the homes have been constructed specifically for families who have children at the nearby eco-friendly Green School, other residents are attracted to Green Village and see it as a one-of-a-kind community that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. 

“We started construction of the first house in May 2010 and have since built seven houses, with the eight being constructed across the river,” says Elora Hardy, creative director at Ibuku, the team behind the Green Village and Green School. “All are privately owned, either as residences or holiday homes, and some are available for rent.” 

The houses are certainly striking: the majority of them have multiple, open-plan living areas, and air-conditioned rooms with woven walls. 

Yet their most characteristic feature is that they are made from more than 90 percent bamboo. 

“We try to use bamboo as much as possible, for both construction and interior decoration because it is strong, flexible and beautiful,” says the Bali-raised Hardy, who traveled back to the island from New York to work on the project. 

Once constructed, the villas require limited maintenance. Coating both structural and interior bamboo every three years will improve the villas’ appearance and durability. Hardy is hopeful that in the future further innovations will make the maintenance process even easier. 

From the first bamboo structure to the move-in date, each villa takes from six months to two years to construct. The first step in the design process is getting the basic outline of the customer’s lifestyle and living requirements. 

“While not all of the people who get into this do so because they feel strongly about the environment, all of them are creative, appreciate beauty and think outside the box,” Hardy says, adding that all of the current villa owners are based either in Asia or Australia. 

A great deal of imagination is required in designing the interior of each villa. All the conventional items — water heaters, light switches, power points — are still necessary and, Hardy says, it can take an extra dose of creativity to make them unobtrusive in such as natural setting. 

“We have to find solutions,” she says. “For instance, we have covered a fridge with bamboo, have placed baskets over water heaters and came up with stone taps.” 

All of the furniture, most of it bamboo, is custom designed and often one-of-a-kind. 

Read more: Jakarta Globe

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