Category Archives: Indonesia

Fusing Heritage with Modern Design

La Spina Collections exemplifies many of the things I am encouraged about in Indonesia – all coming together into a line of shoes.

Here’s my reasoning:
1. The shoes are beautiful and inventive.
2. The collection embraces Indonesian heritage.
3. The products uses batik fabrics from villages to promote and help its artisans (mostly in Java).
4. The shoes also use wood carving as we saw in Bali.
5. The business is a pure start-up, starting from a group of three highly skilled shoemakers.
6. La Spina received entrepreneurial coaching and international exposure by the Femina Group.
7. The collection is now growing rapidly with exposure at Tokyo Fashion Week and previews in Europe.
8. Established local companies who embrace the heritage batiks are now contracting La Spina for some special collections.

All of this is the product of the efforts by design entrepreneur, Lianna Gunawan. Lianna was gracious enough to give me a full tour of her operations – from back office and retail store in Jakarta to her factory in Bandung. Her operations are growing and her staff will need to expand to keep up. It was refreshing to see in Bandung how shoemaking really starts and the craft involved to make beautiful shoes. It will be an interesting challenge to see how Lianna can keep up with growing demand and maintain her vision to use heritage fabrics and techniques and fuse them with her flair for contemporary style. If anyone is up for it, it’s Lianna, and I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of her as an icon of new Indonesian fashion design.

Growth by Respect

Eka Lorena Soerbakti is a powerhouse. The 2012 Eisenhower Fellow from Indonesia, Eka was the deciding factor on why I came to Indonesia. We had met in Philadelphia for our EF orientation sessions and we hit it off immediately. I think we were two of the louder laughs at the improv comedy theater where Andrew Stober was performing.

When I asked Eka about her home country, she came at me with full force enthusiasm and terrific contacts on what is happening with creative culture there. With a laser focus on results and touching generosity, she was indispensable part of the entire trip. It’s hard to believe that someone who afforded me so much time and energy is a key mover for the transportation industry in Indonesia.


Eka remembers when her father, G. T. Soerbakti, started Lorena Group in 1970. After leaving the military, her father purchased two buses to start a transportation service from Bogor to Jakarta. “We didn’t even have the land for the buses, so we rented the front yards of people in town so we could park them.”

It’s a little different operation now: Lorena executive class buses, Karina coach class busses, ESL logistics, cargo and courier services, with projects extending into air and water transport. Now their integrated transportation service moves millions of people. The buses are all Mercedes vehicles and are equipped with GPS and a dedicated driver training program. As a result this company is held in high regards and G. T. Soerbakti was given a “life time achievement award”  by Ernst and Young in 2003. Having grown up working with their father, the next generation of Soerbaktis are taking leadership roles with Lorena. But with careful maintenance Mr Soerbakti has maintained the very first bus – and pointed it out to us in the depot in Bogor.

Lately Eka is also getting involved with larger transportation issues. Organda is an organization of land transportation owners that is pushing the government for transportation reform. The traffic throughout Indonesia appears to be in need of better planning, and Jakarta’s traffic jams are almost comical. On one memorable night it took us 1 hour to move less than half a mile. Eka is leading the charge in trying to get things unjammed, but it is a massive job. Eka is also leading Organda with many charitable activities. This sensitivity to people around her clearly came from her family.

With the unpredictability of Jakarta traffic on the beginning of Ramadan, we left an hour earlier than advised, just to make sure we weren’t late to another appointment. That morning Ramadan was declared to be one day later, so traffic proceeded and we ended up significantly early. Mr Soerbakti saw us in the waiting room and immediately invited into his office to fill us with cakes and coffee. To our surprise, he was already meeting with a vendor. The room was full and we were graciously introduced to all parties and even had a lengthy chat about our Eisenhower Fellowship experience. Although we tried to excuse ourself from the ongoing meeting, Mr Soerbakti insisted that we stay as negotiations rejoined. Honestly I was shocked. Subsequently I realized that this was a deliberate management style of openness. I was never asked to keep anything confidential from this meeting. He didn’t have to, and I learned a lot about kindness and respect.

We took a tour of the Lorena group’s depot, and this is where the story began to unfold: apparently some people liked to board the bus before it got to the first station, so rather than deny them, Mr Soerbakti made a nice station for them, complete with TV, shower, prayer room and even clean sleeping quarters. All the oil disposal is cared for, the engines are maintained with top notch equipment, and between the parking areas are fruit and vegetable trees. Mr. Soerbakti cares for the trees himself. “He’s a very detailed man,” one of his staff explained.

Eka introduced me to the key personnel in each department – all people she had known for more than 20 years. But the real touching moment was when we toured the bus driver waiting area. The drivers saw him coming and with eagerness and earnestness all lined up to shake his hand. It was a compelling and silent moment that spoke volumes to me. I realized the kindness and respect he showed to me was something he regularly did with his customers and employees, and it appears that it remains Lorena’s biggest key to success.




Design for Community Advancement

Within 10 minutes of having arrived at Singgih Kartono’s studio in Desa Kandangan, I turned to Beth and said “This alone was worth the whole trip.” She responded, “this feels like you.”

Designers create their works for different agendas: to win awards, to innovate, to make money, etc. But Singgih designs to empower his village in Temanggung and thereby sustainably advance Indonesia. His plan is really that big, and he plans on doing it with some simple and small items, starting with the Wooden Radio. These products are sold in fine design establishments around the world.

Singgih originally conceived the idea while in design school in Bandung. After some refinement and mentorship for the acclaimed concept he decided to not only bring his design to market, but to create the factory that would make it in his hometown. So starting from very meager beginnings (he rented a desk in a neighbor’s apartment), he began the enterprise with stunning focus.

Now when you come into his compound you are greeted with two well designed modern structures – his house and his factory. His factory is a split level structure filled with open space and glass walls to the outside. “People spend a lot of time in here, and I wanted it to feel like home to them.”

Likewise his house doubles as an office and his living room a conference room with moving glass walls that brings the outside in. When fully opened up he can have large gatherings there – whether for design workshops or celebrations.

The wooden radio is of course not 100% wooden. It uses electronics from abroad to make the sound. These are simply assembled into the beautiful wooden cases. Singgih explains that he always prefers the back of his designs than the front. A tour of his delightfully lit and airy split-level factory gives the air of people doing projects rather than a factory. It felt like a factory i wanted to work in.

The heart of Singgih’s method is “New Craft,” a system that mentor Surya Pernawa encouraged him to develop. But this name is misleading. The goal is to transform design from a tool for commerce into a means for empowering a village. New Craft combines the benefits of skilled workmanship of traditional craft industries in rural villages with the modern perspective that results from a design and manufacturing process. Social responsibility and sustainability can then become key differentiators.

Outside of Singgih’s multipurpose room is a hydroponic system growing vegetables which circulates through a fish pond. But this is just a clue to his efforts. Behind the workshop he has a courtyard filled with composts and saplings. He explained “we pay employees but we never think to pay nature.” He went on to explain that Magno could make products because someone planted trees years ago. “So we have to pay nature back too.” His website adds “The amount of wood replanted and selected is based on our yearly wood consumption, suitable age for wood to be grown and cut, and the requirement of land per tree.”
This plan for sustainable design goes much further. In addition to planting to replace the trees he uses, he also has an organic farm in the works that further synergizes fish, fruit trees and vegetables. He was not planning to do this but when the new tract of land was being opened up to housing he decided to buy it to preserve it and do something more sustainable. This farm now produces income that provides jobs and sustains expansion. Ultimately he hopes to re-inspire a new generation of agricultural workers in his village who have been fleeing farming for years. Now Singgih is turning his attention to moving his factory closer to the new farm. That would allow his existing factory to become a community center.
What results from all of this is perhaps the best living example of “think global, act local.”  He has drawn a circle around his community and used design as a path to address the needs of that community. The many layers of happiness and beauty that has resulted is unmistakable. But Singgih’s work is not done. Exciting new products are forthcoming, and he is also thinking a lot about education.
As if on cue, neighborhood children came to say hi while we took our parting photo with he and his wife.



Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

Eisenhower Fellows are spread far and wide, but I have yet to meet one on this trip who is not doing important work that resonates with my own goals. Svida Alisjahbana runs the Femina Group, Indonesia’s largest media outlet for women (if not all people) in the country. With more than 14 media brands, they have been able to secure a compelling foothold in Indonesia’s culture.

It was refreshing to hear Svida’s passion on supporting the women enterepreneurs of Indonesia. With exceeding clarity she presented compelling statistics that by far the biggest part of Indonesia’s future is the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) businesses run by women. According to the scholar Dr. Dana Santoso Saroso of Universitas Mercu Buana, the typical Indonesian SME is defined by having less than 20 employees and less than Rp 50 million (US$5,000) in capitalization. Indeed this would be consistent with my own limited observations.

So Femina decided to support this important group, not just by following with related content, but by taking a leadership position across several fronts. We were able to discuss two important ones: Jakarta Fashion Week and Wanita Wirausaha.

After just a handful of years, Jakarta Fashion Week is not only one of the global fashion events for Muslim women, but it is also becoming a gateway event for many native Indonesian designers to reach the international stage. Showcasing 2000 pieces created by 180 designers it brings in more than 150,000 attendees.

I was quite impressed with JFW’s Creative Director Diaz Parzada and inquired how it could make sense for a publisher to take a lead role in an event like this. He responded with enthusiasm that “this effort generates content.” Forget counting eyeballs, building reader loyalty, or getting their logo out there, he was most excited about creating new content.

I don’t want to alienate my American media friends, but I’ve not heard one of them justify massive community development efforts on the basis of content generation alone. Of course Femina is receiving those previously-mentioned ancillary benefits that only strengthen their brand, but its this perspective on their participation that makes their work remarkable. In fact, Svida mentioned the need to state this refocus with a title like Chief Community Insight Officer.

Jakarta Fashion Week involves a jurying process of new and emerging designers. 85% of the fashion show slots are subsidized by Femina, with 15% being purchased by the more established designers. Svida noted that “some designers think that its all about the runway show.” But Femina only selects designers that have 1) have done something new and exciting and 2) are ready with a profitable business to suppport that line.

That’s where the mentoring comes in. Femina hires a group of international fashion experts to critique, grow, and finalize each designer’s line. Some stories shared were ones that Idol’s Simon Cowell would probably appreciate, but ultimately the idea was to bring te real fashion world to these designers and help them improve and stand up to the scrutiny and demand s of a succuessful fashion business.

Petty Fatimah, editor-in-chief of Femina magazine, heads up a program called Wanita Wirausaha (translated as Entrepreneurial Women). Through a review process, top women entrepreneurs from Indonesia are chosen to not only celebrate their achievements, but to mentor them to go onto bigger and better things. Some are focused on GPS tracking and others on baked goods, or spa services. However, some of the fashion entrepreneurs end up refining their work and making it into Jakarta Fashion Week, which in turn opens up the international stage. Talk about developing local talent!

Svida and her staff pointed me to a variety of contacts with whom to follow up, including Lianna Gunawan of La Spina Collections – a success story in both of these programs. I’ll have a further post about my meetings with Lianna. Unfortunately I was unable to make time for the most of the other recommendations the Femina team had for me. The upside is that I have even more reasons why I need to come back to Jakarta’s creative and dynamic scene.

This is Not a Solar Panel

When John Hardy and I discussed “base of pyramid” projects I was pursuing, he was kind enough to refer me to Greg Hinchliffe of F Cubed. A former Quiksilver surfing pioneer in Indonesia, his work led hime to be a caretaker of the environment with initiatives including the acclaimed Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Conservation. Now Greg’s work has turned to filtering water, using another of Indonesia’s basic assets: the sun.

F Cubed was established in 2004 by Peter Johnstone, with their premier product being the Carocell. The concept is surprisingly simple: dirty water is heated by the sun and only clean water evaporates and condenses onto the clear polycarbonate film above. Clean water runs down the inside of the film and collects into containers. The process is further described on their site.

The product costs about US$500 each and from 40 liters of dirty water, generates 20 liters of clean water per day. At typical Indonesian pricing of $1.50 per 20 liter container, the payback is 1 year. Research from IDE’s Paul Polak points to a 3-4 month payback for most dollar-a-day farmers to make an investment, so they may still have some cost-cutting to get wide acceptance, but partnered with a sponsor, this could achieve wide acceptance quite quickly. Test sites are already underway, with the first Balinese installation being at Kesayan Ikang Papa Orphanage in Gianyar City. This site economized space and doubled its function by becoming a car-port roof as well.

A byproduct of the water purification is that the 20 or so liters of un-evaporated fluid is sterilized by the heat. If salt water is used as the input fluid, the resulting fluid is sterilized and concentrated, which can be used to make pickling brines or other byproducts that may have additional commercial value.

Greg also mentioned that this same technology could be used to treat industrial waste. In fact there are already looking at huge arrays of these to be deployed in parallel for such purposes.

My thought would be to simply couple this on the back side of a urinal. He said it would work. In fact, the applications seem quite endless. The beauty of it is to have a simple modular system that can be deployed as single units or massive arrays. Matching utility with simplicity and economy is exactly the type of innovation that can change the world.

Stimulating Creativity through Preservation

One of the common threads of my favorite Eisenhower Fellows is their multifaceted careers. Laretna Adishakti is no exception. I was able to meet with her in her family-owned of Mustokoweni Heritage Hotel. The entry was an unassuming but very cute coffee shop. We were just digging into our Nutty Cream and Cinnamon Latte when we were escorted through the back and downstairs to a beautiful courtyard.

We were led around a hanging batik-in-progress and into a gallery with a series of rooms of beautiful batiks. The pride of the gallery was the “indigo room” which featured all natural fabrics printed with traditional patterns using all natural dyes. Knowing that batiks are the pride and joy of Yogyakarta culture, we felt we had just entered the Holy of the Holies.

“Sita” Laretna arrived and invited us for some tea in the courtyard and started to give us some background on what we were admiring. As a professor of Architecture at Gadjah Mada University, she gave us a wonderful introduction. There are several threats to the rich and deep culture of batik in Java. Most recently erupting volcanoes in the region have wiped out homes and villages. We saw some evidence of this on the way to the Borobudur temple. Some boulders the size of cars were still lying in the midst of houses nearly 20 km from Mount Merapi!

Sita explained “unlike devastating earthquakes, sometimes volcanic activity makes places too dangerous to ever return.” These people are then homeless and their crafts and traditions disappear. This led her to found the Center for Heritage Conservation. The mission of CHC is to help retain the skills and knowledge of these traditions. They also work to preserve the natural materials and dye recipes used in batiks.

A typical institutional and academic approach would be to document and publish their findings. CHC’s commitment has gone beyond this and iaids in the production of the batiks. They control their supply integrity by purchasing natural textiles, then contracting rural batik wax artists to paint them with traditional patterns. One of my favorite patterns is called “chicken feet” by locals but is a rigidly geometric style. When complete CHC brings the, back to Yogyakarta for dying and melting the waxes away to reveal the previous coloring. I asked how they controlled this and I was taken still another level deeper in the compound.

Neatly tucked behind the courtyard was a garden and I saw my first Indigo plant. I was taken back by how such an unassuming plant could have caused so much geopolitical conflict. They are able to crush the indigo lease on sight to make the dyes. Apparently the dye color requires an exponential amount of leaves and requires expertise to get right. The darkest blues may require 25 times more leaves than the lighter blues.

After dying the fabrics hung to dry, stiff as a rock. Special melting and washing processes were required to turn them into the supple batiks in the gallery.

The most inspiring thing was when we started looking at the dye sources. We had samples of Mahogany bark and a variety of other javanese woods that all made distinctive colors – learned by studying traditional Batik sources. Most of these dye sources were only known to certain villages. However with Sita at the helm, she saw the opportunity to combine traditional patterns and dyes and cross-fertilize the research and create new color combinations. The blending of deep mahogany with medium indigo is just breathtaking. These striking new color combinations and re-emergence of traditonal patterns with natural material has caught a lot of attention.

In the end there was an important lesson for me here: researching and preserving traditions can itself be a very creative venture and allow new possibilities to emerge. I am excited to see how these efforts will create the “new traditions” of batik!

Bali Kite Festival


My favorite festivals are multi-dimensional. We had found some scarce information about the Bali Kite Festival, but it really surpassed expectations. We knew it was going to be good when our driver’s face lit up when we told him we wanted to go to Padang Galak.

As Beth mentioned in her post  the kites came with teams: 20 people to manage the incredible forces on the rope (not kite string) of these huge beauties, and 20 more to play the accompanying music. The camaraderie was readily apparent, and the fun was purely infectious. It reminded be a little bit of the NC State Fair, except that the main entertainment was provided by the creativity and enthusiasm of the attendees. Food and drink were on the side, not the main attraction.


Each kite style had its own competition and performance objective. The Bebean (fish) kites were put into the air for 20 minutes and judged by the pace and evenness of their “swim” from side to side. Meanwhile the Janggan (bird) kites have monstrously long tails and are judged by the flow of the tail. We missed the Pecukan (leaf) kites but did see some special creation kites, which included human-sized gods.

Equally impressive was all the logistics required, which included building large bamboo structures on the field launch them from, and driving them back and forth to each Bali village down narrow roads with oncoming traffic driving under them. It seemed like the festival gathered all the energy of Bali in a compelling grass-roots activity. And the whole thing started with the simplest of natural assets: wind.


The Mind Behind the Skull

Lee Downey is an inspiring man. With over 20 years of working in Bali, he has seemed to embrace everything about it while maintaining a world view.

Lee has a significant following for carving skulls. He and his crew carve them out of glass, meteors and bowling balls. They carves them out of things you never heard of, and do so expertly in painstaking detail. At first I thought it was a skull thing. And certainly there are enough skulls, including giant rodents and weird pigs whose lower teeth grow long enough to puncture the top of their skull. But as creepy as skulls can be, they always represent the mystery of creatures: what’s in that head?

But then we gazed onto a large chunk of amber glass. It looked like maple syrup sitting on the table. Lee mentioned it was a next big project: carving a

We sat down for some of his delicious homemade chai and the conversation developed. What was this Eisenhower thing about? What am I about? What’s our biggest problem in this world? In my personal working experience, it’s been shoes. We also discussed the perils of cars.  But then we gazed onto a stunning chunk of amber glass on the table. It was from the Manhattan Project. The more we discussed nuclear energy and bombs, the more I realized that he was extremely knowledgable on the subject and that these skulls weren’t just about mystery, but were also about sending out warning signs.

Lee is world-renowned for his craft. In fact Sting’s wife bought a piece from him for Billy Joel’s birthday. I believe it was from the “Bones and Stones” series below. Schwarzenegger was photographed for a Time Magazine cover wearing one of his skull belt buckles. But his mastery extends into metalsmithing and sculpture from fossilized mammoth tusks. 


His home is located within the studio. Perched on the peak of a magnificent and unspoiled valley, his home is a sliding giant glass wall.

Lee has extensive travel experiences. Finally I asked him “why Bali?” He quickly responded that there is nowhere else in the world where people can carve so well. This only affirmed my conversation with Cynthia Hardy.

But Lee’s personal story speaks volumes for integration with a community. He is highly knowledgable about proper documentation for wildlife artifacts. His Balinese business partner became a priest and now Lee’s home adjoins the temple. Lee still works with his original craftspeople, who live in this compound and enjoy health insurance. He has trained their children and is now witnessing a third generation coming. He integrated a local cafe/bar to share the valley view. He has a great Macaw keeping him company as he designs, manages, creates and researches. He also has a plan in place to reintroduce a nearly extinct bird population into the adjoining valley. There are few people in this world that leave me so inspired. Cynthia and I discussed this on the rainy scooter ride back and I felt I had witnessed a person who exemplified a poem by Whitman. At first I could only bring back the compelling excerpt: “…dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem…”

I got back to Ubud and found the whole work:

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

― Walt Whitman


The Ride to Tegallalang

I first met Cynthia Hardy on the Yoga mat. I am not a yoga practitioner but it was being offered for free by Annie in the centerpiece bamboo yoga structure of Bambu Indah. If there was a place for me to learn yoga, this was going to be it. I didn’t hear any cackles from the small group while I struggled which put me at ease, but then Cynthia volunteered to lead us in a squat pose twisting and pushing our arms side to side. After my muscles started burning, I realized this was a strong and graceful woman.

We talked at breakfast about our interests and she immediately put together an agenda to see Lee Downey later that day. The middle of the island has the smallest of roads, and are increasingly filled with busses and cars. So to get from Ubud to north of the Tegallalang region by car was going to double the 1 hour trip. This was not going to work for Beth, she had already done some scooter time the day before – without traffic – and that was enough. So I jumped behind Cynthia on her scooter and Annie followed on hers.


We had a brief stop at Tegallalang to see the magnificent vista of cascading rice terraces. I understand that the water for the top tiers comes from an extensive upstream canal system that feeds into these terraces one by one. There are elders who will adjust the water needs of each field by corking one terrace and unplugging another. It seems like it would be quite a tricky math problem to model.




The petrol stations were unique: just an oudoor shelf system of glass bottles of fuel. Jus pick it up and pour it in. Of course it was fun to think about how much of a full liter you were getting, but you could also pick your own.



Along the way we also passed a multitude of craft shops. Its inconceivable to think about how many artists and crafters live in Bali. It certainly feels like the whole population is inordinately skilled. Cynthia suggested that this was related to their religious ritual of making offerings. From exquisitely arranged flowers to delicately peeled and folded leaves, there are always fresh offerings within sight – on a dinner table or on the ground at the entrance to a store. I loved the idea of these offerings. They were not offerings of flowers, leaves and food as much as they were offerings of labour and skill. And this offering had a reciprical effect in making the Balinese the craftspeople and artists of Indonesia.

From Green to Great

I can’t properly state how thrilled we were today. Not only did we see some of the most magnificent architecture of my life, but we spent the whole day with John Hardy to get the first-person perspective on how it comes together.

The first stop was the “factory.” In one building, you can see the design team create models of the homes they intend to build, with the iterations hanging upside down from the ceiling. Outside is a bamboo processing operation, where the massive 40′ trunks are treated with Borax, pressure washed and stacked for sale or use in their own projects. Many different types of bamboo come into the facility, each with its own use: the straight ones become structural components for buildings, while the curvy ones make great railings or furniture elements. Some pieces are ripped into small strips so they can be reassembled into flooring or counters. Some larger pieces are scored so they can become matts. Then there are the beautiful cross-sections which make up headboards or railing posts.

Interspersed with this variety of operations is a small clue into John’s creative thinking. In almost every corner there is an experiment: combining bamboo with tires, ceramics, or glass and with other bamboo components in a variety of constructions. Each one looked like a whole new business was ready to start.

Our first stop was to look at a bamboo home in process. The entry was through a fully round tunnel – apparently the concept came from laying a tower down. The workers made it look like it was a fine idea.

In Bali the climate is quite friendly: temperature is moderate, bugs are nothing like NC, and the rain falls vertically. So this means walls are optional. For the most part, the Hardy’s opted out.

Of course some spaces require some privacy, so bathrooms were created as large baskets deployed in corners of the open spaces. The undulating walls created some layers of separation and in some cases obviated the need for doors.

When doors and windows were needed, they found appropriately creative ways to address them.

Countertops, floors, railings were all part of the vision.

Even the headboard… and some ideas on how the young man might use it…

It was stunning to see how the designs worked with the existing topography and barely disturbed it in construction. Clearing an architectural site is always a highly disruptive activity that consumes massive amounts of energy, destroys lots of foliage, and creates runoff problems.

But in many ways it all clicked when I saw the footings. Generally a footing needs to be purely compression-bearing. Shear forces at the base is an engineering no-no, especially without tensile structures in place. So columns are always built straight up. However the Hardy’s have come up with an ingenious footing system that allows their main columns so meet the ground at an angle. I won’t give away their system, but as an engineer, I see this footing system as a “secret sauce” (I think they have many). Once liberated of that, the design opportunities opened up exponentially. But it’s not like it happened by accident.

In my experience the best creativity emerges when new constraints are imposed. The Hardy’s committed to sustainable design and bamboo. This then pushed them into finding ways to design and work with the material, which led to a nice innovation in footings and freed them of perpendicular architecture. This in turn opened up an ocean of new design possibilities. What sells anyone on their bamboo system is not the sustainability, but the fantastic designs that emerge because of this commitment. Sustainability is clearly in the DNA of these buildings, and this manifested into some gorgeous forms.

See Beth’s post with way better pics here.