Global smart phone brand OPPO teamed up with Japanese architect Kengo Kuma to create a large outdoor installation at 2019 London Design Festival. Called ‘Bamboo (竹) Ring: Weaving into Lightness’, the project is installed in the John Madejski Garden at the V&A Museum for the duration of the festival. Inspired by the Garden and curated by Clare Farrow, the doughnut-shaped structure has been created by weaving rings of bamboo and carbon fiber together.
As this year's edition of the London Design Festival celebrates smart technology and innovation, OPPO's partnership focuses on exploring the integration of innovative technology, nature and design to create beautiful art and unique experiences for people. Kengo Kuma said: “Working on this project with OPPO has been a very interesting experience. OPPO London Design Centre share a mutual interest and passion for the exploration of the integration of technology and natural materials. Using both bamboo and carbon fiber in the installation allows us to create an installation that fits into the landscape around it. OPPO likes to push the boundaries in innovative design to allow users to enjoy the beauty of technology, and this is how I create my work; the constant exploration of new materials, forms and environments. ‘Bamboo (竹) Ring: Weaving into Lightness’ is an adventurous exploration of this topic.”
Bamboo has been used traditionally in Japanese architecture in part due to its linearity and flexibility, and as a symbol of strength and rapid growth. The basic component of the structure – a 2m-diameter ring – is made from strips of the bamboo Phyllostachys edulis. By combining carbon fibre, a contemporary material, with the traditional material of bamboo and laminating each ring, the resulting effect achieves a certain rigidity while maintaining the unique material properties and beauty of bamboo – a remarkable, sustainable material that resonates with Kuma’s childhood memories and looks into the future of architecture. Bamboo (竹) Ring, or ‘Take-wa 竹わ’, is intended to be a catalyst for weaving people and place together.
OPPO also introduces an immersive experience called ‘Essence of Discovery’ that is located on Baker Street, London. The installation showcases the possibilities of achieving a more harmonious relationship between humans and technology, and explores the science of crafting products that blend beauty, intelligence and material tactility. Through the experimental design, OPPO London Design Center will continue the exploration into new product areas, lifestyle trends and experiences, outside of their work with smartphones.
The ‘Essence of Discovery’ installation can be viewed at 35 Baker Street throughout London Design Festival, from 14th – 22nd September. ‘Bamboo (竹) Ring: Weaving into Lightness’ is located at V&A in the John Madejski Garden and is open from 14th – 22nd September.
Design Team: (Kuma Lab): Kengo Kuma, Toshiki Hirano, Kohyoh Yang, Hiroki Awaji, Tomohisa Kawase
Fabrication Team: Alexander Mladenov, Cristina Mordeglia, Luciana Tenorio, Simone Parola, Sarah Wellesley, Valentin Rodriguez de las Cuevas