Designing A Suspended Dining Room Using Bamboo
Hear from Melyssa Lim about her journey designing a bamboo dining room for a restaurant during the Bamboo U Online Course.
Student Name: Melyssa Lim
Name of Project: Pendulum
Bamboo U Course Title Attended: Bamboo U Online Course
Year/ Month attended Bamboo U: August 2021
Work: Studio Manager of Refind Glass Studio Singapore
My name is Mel. The body of work she produces comes from a place of surrealism and the imaginary. As a student of multiple art disciplinaries, her mediums range from woodworking, clay, glass, paper, illustration, textiles, decaying matter, and more.
I stumbled upon Bamboo U while I was researching creative outlets that used analogue methods of making. As I am drawn to and deeply respect any form of hands-on craft, I wanted to be a part of the Bamboo U Online Course.
During the course I learnt about how to romanticize the spaces that hold us, to listen to our surroundings, and adapt. The human senses - touch and hearing, were the main inspirations behind the movement and creation of my project.
Ideation, Concept and Sketches
The name of my project is Pendulum. It is a conceptual suspended dining room for a restaurant in the jungle. This poem illustrates the concept:
If you tread a little further,
You might just catch a glimpse.
If you come a little closer,
You might just hear it.
The heartbeat of the jungle,
A simmering glow, a hypnotising cadence that pulls you in.
An imperturbable composure,
Waiting for you.
(writing a poem at the beginning of any project helps to keep my vision of the space consistent throughout the process)
Dinner is not just a meal, it is an opportunity for communal gathering and moments of intimacy. Much like a heart, it is honest and welcoming, after the initial ice-breaking. It is an event for us to share a piece of ourselves to the ones that surround us. For my bamboo project, I wanted to create an intimate dining space for potential, conceptual restaurants, nestled in the dense and humid jungles of Southeast Asia.
Inspired by silhouettes of hanging objects – flowers, gourds, baskets, bird feeders and even the angler fish’s luminescent fin ray, I want my suspended bamboo structure to adopt a similar lightness. For instance, a charcoal grill in the jungle with outdoor “droopy flower bulb” pods that hang from tall trees. Or perhaps a seafood restaurant with “anglerfish inspired bulbs” hung and suspended over a water body, like a fish emerging from the surface. The vision is to create a pulsing glow from within the dining area, filled with the sound of chatter. From the exterior, it mimics the rhythm of a heartbeat, hidden away deep in the foliage.
The intricacies of the space include a wide dome ceiling, low enough to be cozy but the curved walls push the space open and feel like an airy hug. Natural light enters from the cut opening of the bulbous room to simulate cavernous qualities. Since this project involves a lot of curvatures, I would like to explore the method of basket weaving, on a large scale. Perhaps, interweaving thick bundles of bamboo rope.
These al fresco dining bulbs will allow patrons of the restaurant to be immersed in an environment that educates them about the possibilities of bamboo construction. To recognize the beauty of the raw material and the humbleness it teaches its builders – to listen to the needs of the bamboo and flow with it, instead of forcing the material to fit our desired mold. This dining bulb sets the mood for a warm communal dinner as well as enlightens the curious, about the capabilities of bamboo.
Melyssa Lim is an experimental sculpture and object maker/artist from Singapore with a BFA in Illustration from California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Her focus is on blending different analogue craft techniques into a whimsical concoction to create unique functional objects. She is now working as Studio Manager at the Refind Glass Studio, Singapore
August 19th, 2022
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