Traditional craftsmen and women have been using bamboo, rattan, seagrass and water hyacinth for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Naturally strong and easy to work with, they are idea materials for such traditional craftmaking techniques such as hand weaving. So IKEA approached up a team of experts from Vietnam and Indonesia to produce a line of goods using their traditional approach and in some cases mimicking their indigenous designs.
The resulting room dividers, baskets, chairs and even hats have a warm aesthetic that amplifies their inherently healthy and renewable nature. While the World Wildlife fund (WWF) cautions that rattan in particular needs to be sourced carefully since it is rapidly disappearing, bamboo is a fast-growing grass, and water hyacinth is considered such a nuisance that using it to produce paper and other crafts helps to contribute to healthier aquatic ecosystems. Seagrasses are essential to marine ecosystems and vulnerable to environmental changes; as a result, they should be used with caution.
Still, this is a wonderful, empowering initiative that highlights the merits of sustainable, traditional design and craftsmanship. We wouldn’t mind one of those Vietnamese hats…