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Bamboo Vision

Designer Katsuhiro Ozawa brings his poetic artistry to the Pause bamboo sculpture at the 2015/2016 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism in Hong Kong. Christie Lee writes.

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BY janice

January 22nd, 2016


Given all the worry surrounding the depletion of our natural resources, it seems befitting that the theme for the 2015/2016 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism in Hong Kong is ‘Visions 2050: Lifestyle and the Smart City’. A saunter through the expansive Kowloon Park, where the biennale is held, generated thoughts about co-habitation, community and heritage conservation, but it was Katsuhiro Ozawa’s bamboo tunnel bridge that left a most long-lasting impression.

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A sustainable material that can be harvested rapidly, bamboo has long become a ubiquitous part of the Hong Kong psyche and cityscape, used variously in kitchenware, home furnishing and most visible of all, the construction scaffolding around town.

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“It is a material that has been used for construction as far as construction existed, and now we see it as the perfect material that alludes to a sustainable future for 2050 and beyond,” notes Ozawa, a design leader at Woods Bagot.

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Weaved together by thin bamboo splits, Pause is intended as a work that would allow us to “take a moment out of our busy lives to reflect on our selves while simultaneously allowing us to embrace our natural surroundings.”

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By day, light filters in through the fibres, casting dancing shadows on the concrete, grass and water, while by night, the sublime sculpture becomes a dark tunnel that one might vigilantly enter. The porous nature of the sculpture reminds constantly of the existence of the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ worlds, and how nature – the light, wind, and human voices – could fluidly move between the two realms. Extended at the top, the splits rub against the wind to create a soft rustling whisper.

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From the side, the sculpture appears as a curtain of bamboo splits, as if chiding visitors to peel it open in order to discover the gem of a design structure behind. Meanwhile, the symmetrical reflection echoes the other symmetries seen in the park, be it the petals on a flower or branches on a Banyan tree.

Pause runs until 28 February at the 2015/2016 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism in Hong Kong.