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Monday, December 5, 2022

Bamboo Matters aims to nudge sustainable design solutions and livelihood opportunities through bamboo

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Design Center of the Philippines, the Industry Cluster Enhancement Program, and the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBDIC) recently opened the Sustainability Pavilion in this year’s Hybrid National Trade Fair (HNTF) on 16-20 November at Megatrade Halls 1-3 in SM Megamall.

Dubbed Bamboo Matters, the Sustainability Pavilion champions the grass species and spotlights its place in the country’s material culture and design language. Bamboo Matters creative directors Lukas and Sandra Gili Zollinger of OCCO Living drew from Design Center’s material innovation thrust and OCCO Living’s strength in fleshing out the beauty of humble natural materials for the creation of the pavilion. The structure takes inspiration from the tipi, which the Zollingers further described as “vernacular architecture.” 

Bamboo Matters aims to nudge sustainable design solutions and livelihood opportunities through bamboo to a broader public and empower them to support local and eco-friendly wares as they commence their holiday shopping. From its common usage in manufacturing, food, biofuels, and musical instruments, bamboo is presented in a different light, specifically in industrial and commercial design applications to permeate the sectors of construction, homeware, fashion, and lifestyle.

The Sustainability Pavilion houses bamboo-made products from 20 participating local brands and businesses, representing 8 regions. Among the featured products is the Bambino by Bambike Revolution Cycles, a balance bike for 2-6-year-olds with a bolt-together design, adjustable seats, and handlebars that can be built with the family as the child grows older. Bambike Revolution Cycles is a recipient of Japan’s Good Design Award, which is a globally recognized accolade for exemplary design. 

Another bamboo-based product in the pavilion is the Biscornu Pendant Lamp by Hacienda Crafts Co., Inc., inspired by a small, octagonal, stuffed ornamental pincushion that forms a unique convex polyhedron and hand-crafted by the artisans in rural communities creating livelihood opportunities.

Design Center Executive Director Rhea Matute describes bamboo as “integral” to enrich the ongoing conversation on sustainability, as well as to realize the Philippine Green Economy. “As our new normal continues to take shape, we are seeing this shift in the priorities of consumers, and even of Filipinos at large. There is this heightened conscientiousness when it comes to taking care of our environment. In the market, this translates to them being more particular with what products they buy and services they avail,” she shares.

“With bamboo, we get to harness the abundance that is already in the country and create this ripple effect that ultimately nurtures both people and the planet and ensures that we are designing with purpose and for prosperity,” Matute notes.

As one of the world’s fastest-growing plants and most eco-friendly materials, the country now has 70,000 hectares planted with bamboo, more than half of which are in forestlands. Alongside its renewability, the non-timber plant is also known for its resilience, designed to survive typhoons that are frequent in the country; tensile strength, which earned it its “Green Steel of the 21st Century” tag; and overall environmental impact, as bamboo produces 35% more oxygen compared to an equivalent tree mass.

According to the Philippine Bamboo Industry Roadmap developed by the DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG), the Board of Investments (BOI), and the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC), bamboo exports under a healthy economy can capture a significant share of the world market. 

National Industry Cluster Coordinator for Bamboo and DTI-R2 Regional Director Leah Pulido Ocampo states that for the country to effectively push for bamboo as a green architectural and building material, there is also a need to boost supply. 

Organized by the Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (DTI-BDTP) in partnership with the DTI Regional Operations Group, Design Center of the Philippines, and the National Bamboo Industry Cluster, the Sustainability Pavilion at the Hybrid National Trade Fair. For inquiries, email and/or

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