"Made in China", Developing sustainable furniture

by: Mirjam Visser, 2011-05-16 08:15:36 UTC
Sustainability Aspects: The continuation of the quest for sustainable materials and techniques over more then 20 years of developing and optimizing.

The Story


Furniture designer Maria Yee brings together China’s traditional craftmanship with her forward-looking commitment to green principles. Born in southern China, an architect as a father, and her subsequent work as a mechanical engineer in Beijing sparked a love of Ming Dynasty styles and China’s age-old wood joinery techniques that use no nails or screws. She began to produce museum-quality reproductions and later drew inspiration from her California surroundings to create a full line of furniture under her company Maria Yee, Inc. Known for her innovations on this traditional wood joinery, to make it applicable to bamboo, which she patented under the name Bamboo-Joinery™

Maria Yee researched and developed her BambooTimbre™ products as an alternative to solid hardwood. In 2008, BambooTimbre™ received Forest Stewardship Council certification. Bamboo Timbre™ is a unique process in which bamboo strips are flattened, layered, bonded and pressed into solid boards (Which can be as thick as 8 inches). This results in a material which is harder and sturdier than red oak and stronger in tensile strength than steel, yet can be bend into many shapes.

Bamboo Timbre™ is eco-friendly and made from Moso bamboo, a renewable source with a rapid life cycle, which means that plants reach a usable size in years, not decades. Since bamboo is a grass and not a tree, the same plant can be harvested many times without damaging the root system. New growth will emerge from whatever portion is left. Well managed plantations, that prevent the exhaustion of the plantations earth and provide the domestic animals with an habitat, provide a sustainable alternative to wood.

Bamboo Timbre™’s silky surface actually feels warm in cold weather and cooler in hot weather. It does not require the use of synthetic polymers to protects its surfaces or drawer interiors, reducing the release of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Its surface is heat, water and alcohol resistant.

Combining the incredibly durable Bamboo Timbre™ with the Bamboo-Joinery™ technique, a unique piece of furniture is created, entirely by hand and without the use of fasteners, screws or nails.

Making the most of bamboo’s unique features, Maria further innovated her BreathingJoinery™ system with new patented techniques for bamboo construction. AirFrame™ was developed to create a robust structure while eliminating the visible frame lines. BEST™ (Bamboo Enhanced Structure Technology) creates incredibly strong, yet lightweight furniture while reducing material wastage.

To help protect the environment, Maria Yee is increasingly using leather that is vegetable tanned. The V1™ vegetable-tanned leather is the finest from Europe. Tannins, found in roots, tree bark and other plant matter are used to convert rawhide into leather. This process eliminates the use of heavy metals. Vegetable tannins produce leather that has a substantial look, becomes softer with time and ages gracefully.

Product: Furniture
Designer: Maria Yee
Manufacturer: Maria Yee
Category: Fruniture, sustainable materials, bamboo
Websites: www.mariayee.com


Bambootimber Compact office
Bambootimber Compact office
by Maria Yee

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