Why Exhibit?

Words by Kent Gration

Every year, a pilgrimage of sorts is made by the international design community to the Salone Del Mobile in Milan, Italy and many similar trade fairs around the world. The Salone and its components, embody the aspirations of a myriad of design professionals, as they take part in this annual carnivalé of cutting edge design and objects d’arte. As design becomes more of a commodity, rather than a necessity in accordance with global affluence, exhibitions of this magnitude can either address the intrinsic issues in design or simply add to them.

In 2007, Wambamboo was one of only a handful of designers and design companies dedicated to showcasing environmentally aware design at the Salone Del Mobile, which interestingly was bereft of a dedicated eco-conscious section. In the year since, the Salone Satellite’s theme was “Viva il Verde” or “Go Green” and Zona Tortona employed Impatto Zero to create a carbon neutral event. During the Salone, Wambamboo was invited to submit an entry to be judged by international design peers for 100% Futures London in 2007. Wambamboo’s entry was successful, and the range was among 50 of the world’s top emerging designers and featured on the 100% Design website banner. At the same time as the 100% Futures exhibition, the Costello seat won the “Best Sustainable Design” award at the Melbourne Fringe Furniture exhibition. This recognition validated Wambamboo’s ability to highlight this issue at a domestic and international level.

As the population grows, so does the number of designers, and as design becomes more democratised, true is the adage that “everyone wants to be a designer”. So do we really need all these new products, possibly creating an oversupply in the marketplace, whilst events like these create a major carbon footprint? The answer to that comes down to design awareness, rather than design for design’s sake. Wambamboo is not about trend-based design or design that appeals only to magazine editors and the design savvy. Wambamboo is about design as an essential part of day-to-day life. The ideology behind each piece was to reject the notion of aesthetically driven and mass-produced design and inspire a divergence into durable, renewable and tactile materials.

Design solutions that are necessary and inspirational, originate from environmental and sociological issues, rather than the needs and wants of a privileged few. The Wambamboo range was created as an altruistic exercise to showcase bamboo’s versatility and its burgeoning potential, to designers and the global community through the medium of furniture. It has been clear from the interest in the range, that consumers and the international design community are rejecting the austerity associated with high-end design pieces, opting instead for a personable interaction with the built environment around them. Because of this, Wambamboo has featured heavily in international media, and along with other designers, has set a precedent and benchmark for the future direction of design as a necessity.