Bamboo Chair
Location       Xiba, Sichuan, China
Year              2018
Typology      Field Investigation and Research

The bamboo chair can be found all over the town and also in the entire region of Sichuan Province, where it is the most commonly used furniture. It evokes a strong association with the tea house and creates a very unique scenery that differentiates this region from other areas in China.

What immediately captured our attention, is the modular construction principle behind it. Bamboo trunks of different diameters are crafted into elements, adhering to a clear structural logic. From our point of view, this chair is an extraordinary example of the modular principle of chinese art, postulated by the german art historian Lothar Ledderose in his book “Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art”.

We also visited the experienced local craftsman Huang, who may be the last worker still practicing this craft. We documented the whole process of making a bamboo chair and also the tools he used. Freshly cut bamboo trunks are still green at the time of making, but the colour will fade out into yellow and even brown over time. After cutting and sanding, the trunks are heated through fire. We observed how through this practice, one thick trunk was bent and transformed into a frame joint.

The chair is made exclusively out of Bamboo. While it has always been a traditional furniture and a craft art, from today’s perspective it is not only an eco friendly chair but also represents the aesthetic and identity of ordinary civilians and their leisurely lifestyle.

© alter the air studio 2021. All rights researved