"Bamboo is a cultural symbol of my country," says Duyen, the Quality Assurance (QA) / Quality Control (QC) Manager at Bamboo Living's factory in Vietnam. But that is not the only reason Duyen loves working with bamboo. She knows that her work helps support the planet by saving forests, absorbing carbon, producing oxygen, preventing erosion, and protecting soil nutrients. "Besides that," explains Duyen, "I see the bamboo clump with many bamboo culms growing together...they are connected together as a family." She believes this is part of what makes a Bamboo Living house so special; a family of bamboo poles are united to create a natural, warm home.
I am often asked how Bamboo Living came to be the first and only company to build bamboo buildings that are approved by western building codes.
For me personally, it started as the result of my midlife crisis. I am an architect and was attempting to design and build as sustainably as possible. In 1993, I began designing my own home on Maui’s North Shore. The home was to have an off-grid electrical system powered by photovoltaic panels. I would recycle fifty eight-foot tall by five-foot wide louvered mahogany doors that came out of a Maui hotel that remodeled. These doors would become the walls for the house, mounted on sliding tracks so that the home could open up completely when the weather was nice! I would even incorporate local bamboo that I harvested with friends into the fences and railing pickets for my home.