Bamboo is celebrated by architects for its structural, economic, and ecological properties, but it retains troubling connotations. We associate it with “primitive” huts and kitschy tourist attractions. It tends to reinforce an Orientalist fantasy of Southeast Asian architecture, distracting from the authentic contemporary vernacular of the region, which is a vibrant collage of cement and plastic, decorated by fluorescent lights and building-sized inkjet prints.
Savinee Buranasilapin and Tom Dannecker of thingsmatter, set out to invent a shape that is the opposite of a hut, in order to give bamboo an image makeover. Instead of small and enclosed, Ligature stretches out in three low-slung arches to form a wide, open pavilion. It defines space without containing it, framing eccentric, non-orthogonal views of its environment. It defies gravity by gripping the ground horizontally, rather than piercing the sky vertically.
Ligature is voluptuous and asymmetrical, its shape estimated with software, but executed by human hands with irregular, imperfect bamboo, in concert with steel pipes, wire ties, and plywood friction plates. Several thousand joints are fastened with the most important tool of our time: the nail gun. The result is neither a showcase of folksy handicraft nor a pristine example of CNC formalism, but an honest, contemporary, human artifact which reveals its own making.
(as a part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018)