The longstanding success of bamboo in the most expensive designs is a reminder of how the material’s form lends sophistication and a laid-back sensibility to any interior. In this issue, WOW talks to Pranav Pradhan, Managing Director of Green Bamboo Creation which makes bamboo furniture that is all grown and made in Nepal by local artisans. Pranav talks to us about how he explores and is inspired by bamboo for his design aesthetics and utility.
Bamboo is a giant belonging to the grass family, easily recognised by its towering, knobbed, tubular stems. “It is incredibly strong – three times stronger than timber, to be precise – and also highly flexible and snap-resistant (it is stronger than steel as far as tensile strength),” says Pranav. He is an engineer with an MBA and an MSc in Design and Manufacturing and has been in the industry for more than a decade. “While completing my Masters degree in London, I got exposure to the manufacturing and design industry. Immediately after returning from London, I joined Himalayan Bamboo, one of the country’s leading bamboo ventures as a manager,” he recalls his foray into the business.
Understanding the versatility of bamboo and knowing that is more sustainable as wood is a limited natural resource, Pranav started his venture, Green Bamboo Creation, in 2015. He started with bamboo parqueting and the exploration just went further as time progressed.
“I believe that working with bamboo requires an inclusive business approach to make it more sustainable. We source local raw materials of different species from farmers of the eastern and mid-western part of Nepal. We have skilled workers who transform it into something more beautiful. Doing so makes this process community-based and close to the local people too,” he explains.
When asked about who are their prime customers, Pranav say,”After designing our very first products, Red Mud Coffee became our first client. Slowly, we scaled up production and now we have a warehouse in Patan along with a factory in Hetauda.” Till date, GBC has been able to produce more than 5,000 units of bamboo furniture, has designed and built more than 20 different bamboo houses and roof structures, and has collaborated with companies such as Sustainable Future and Nepal Knot Craft Center.
Talking about the useful features of bamboo, Pranav states, “Bamboo produces 30% more oxygen than other trees, conserves water as it sustains on minimum water, keeps the soil moist and repairs soil damage. So the natural ecosystem is encouraged. Another useful feature of bamboo is its resistance to heat and chemicals besides its durability.”
Catering to a niche market, GBC is working to widen its appeal. “In Nepal, people believe bamboo should be cheap and that it doesn’t last for long. We are still trying to create awareness,” he informs.
Upcycling waste bamboo, Pranav has channelised these into the handicraft business. “I also want to work with small community workers for handicrafts in order to help and encourage them by providing raw materials that can be used to create beautiful products,” he shares. GBC products are also available at Maya Ko Chino.
Pranav eventually plans to get into bamboo farming and scale his business.