Bamboo Helps Bali Village Stay in Step With Nature; “Bamboo shoots are flexible and strong, and great for low-income housing in earthquake-prone areas,”

Bamboo Helps Bali Village Stay in Step With Nature
Anita Surewicz | March 09, 2013


\’Bamboo shoots are flexible and strong, and great for low-income housing in earthquake-prone areas,\’ says Green Village creative director Elora Hardy. (Photo courtesy of Green Village)

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.

With its three-year growth cycle and carbon sequestration capacity, bamboo might just be the most environmentally friendly building material currently available.

“Bamboo grows plentifully in clumps, which grow new shoots each year. If not harvested, the bamboo will eventually disintegrate, making room for a new generation,” Hardy says, adding that the bamboo used for the construction of the Green Village comes from individual farmers in Bali and Java.

Hardy is committed to opening people’s minds to the viability of bamboo as a construction material, and in particular its application possibilities in a tropical climate.

“Bamboo shoots are flexible and strong, and great for low-income housing in earthquake-prone areas,” she says. “I realize that right now we are concentrating on the luxury market, but hopefully we are also elevating the perception of bamboo and inspiring people to use it on all levels. Ultimately our greatest impact will be that it’s embraced as a versatile and affordable building material across Indonesia and the tropics.”

“If a bamboo property is treated against insects and the design is right, bamboo houses should last generations. We treat the bamboo with a natural salt solution, and the treatment permanently protects it from insects,” she adds.

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.

The signature round “moon” door is a striking example of incorporating an element of fantasy into a design. In fact, walking through it almost feels like you’re entering another dimension.

Another unique piece of furniture is a bed with a headboard fitted and curved bamboo columns that duct air-conditioning right onto the bed’s center.

“This is a new design. We are still testing it out but it should work once the bed is fitted with a mosquito net,” says Hardy, adding that she is planning to expand this part of the project into a furniture line.

Being a flexible material, bamboo is easy to combine with other materials. Stone, copper and brass have also been used in the construction, either for functional reasons or to complete a certain look.

“There is concrete in the foundations and the roof is made from bamboo shingles with aluminium lining,” Hardy says.

“We have used hand-hammered brass for shower bases and baths, as bamboo should not get wet when its inside, created walls out of banana fiber paper and installed stone counter tops made from slices from a huge boulder.”

While its not all about bamboo, the material clearly takes center stage at this innovative residential development. And with plenty of land still available, Hardy is hoping to continue expanding.

“As long as there are people interested in taking on this lifestyle, we will keep building.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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