Easy Decor bamboo

Debbie Munn holds a large diameter bamboo cane. Behind her on the left is a 2,4m high fresh bamboo screen with another made of externally wired bamboo cane and brushwood combination, capped with half split bamboo poles.

One of the stands at the Cape Town Building Centre which has created great interest, says Jamie Heathcote-Marks, General Manager of the centre, is the exhibit showing Easy Décor’s offerings.

Easy Décor is a company owned and run by Debbie Munn, which markets and installs Chinese bamboo products in partnership with the distributor, Bright Fields.

What draws visitors to the Building Centre, says Heathcote-Marks, is the wide variety of uses to which bamboo is put these days.

Munn has said that after four years’ involvement with bamboo products, she is still surprised at what is available – and new uses are being found each year for bamboo.

“We have bamboo ideally suited for use as fences, partitions, ceilings, wall claddings and railings, and we have bamboo that has been machined and laminated for use as flooring, furniture, countertops, screens and doors. There are more than 1 400 species of bamboo and over the centuries the Chinese have learned how to use it for practically everything – from scaffolding to cupboards.”

South Africans, says Munn, have a local, less sophisticated product, Spaanseriet (known to many of us from its use in rietdak ceilings) but this has little of the strength and appeal of a real bamboo. If used outside and exposed to the elements it will rot.

The base product, she says, is a Moso bamboo, available in various size categories, i.e. with diameters of 10 to 20mm, 30 to 40mm and 50 to 60mm and heights of 1,5m, 2m and 2,4m.

The larger bamboo screens are 30 to 40mm in diameter can be supplied in a natural green form which dries out naturally after installation or as a kiln dried product (the yellow colour). If maintained correctly with care, bamboo can last outside for 10 to 20 years outdoors and will last indefinitely indoors.

The larger bamboo can also be split down the middle and used one up and one down to create a corrugated appearance or it can be cut into thin strips which are joined together to create flat or slightly uneven surfaces in a variety of colours. In its flat, laminated form bamboo is now used worldwide for flooring, furniture and screens and in 101 other ways.

The flooring panels have a “Click-Lock” mechanism which locks them together, hiding joint lines.

It is, says Munn, the aesthetic, almost exotic, appeal of this product that makes it so popular but its other advantages are that, although light, it is exceptionally strong and it is a wonderful natural insulator. Bamboo is versatile and has its own natural appeal. Its chic 21st Century look will complement almost any other interior fittings.

“In addition to this, the greenies will be pleased to know that it is totally sustainable: in ideal conditions, bamboo can grow up to a meter per day and is cultivated in large renewable commercial forests. As demand has grown worldwide, these forests have increased.

Munn said that the bamboo contracts which she feels have been especially successful have been those giving additional privacy, e.g. around a patio, a garden, a shower or a Jacuzzi, those creating new spaces internally and those hiding an unsightly feature, e.g. ceilings, concrete panel walls, ugly pipes, machinery or sheds. Most popular is the application in entertainment rooms underneath polycarbonate and Chromadek roofs, providing filtered sunlight, insulation and a relaxed ambience.

Easy Décor also supplies and fits seagrass and sisal natural carpeting which complements the use of bamboo.

“It seems clear,” said Heathcote-Marks, “that this is a range of products with which we will all become far more familiar in future. Bamboo is now “in” – and a very good investment, whatever use you make of it.”

Article by: www.thebuildingcentre.co.za