Through their sustainable, high-performance bamboo structures, Bamboo DNA supports arts and culture around the world. Founded by New York artist and designer Gerard Minakawa, the company specializes in building sets and stages for a network of performers, as well as sculptural installations for museums and galleries. Minakawa holds BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and has had previous experience teaching classes and studying under indigenous craftsmen in Bolivia. Bamboo DNA has created installations and sculptures for such big events as the Coachella Music Festival, Lightning in a Bottle, Burning Man, and LACMA Muse.
When choosing the right bamboo for a project, Minakawa carefully selects each pole and panel, paying attention to the slightest variations and personality of the material. Taken together in a cohesive whole, the bamboo takes on certain performance characteristics that exemplify strength, organic shape, and versatility. While intuitive for him, he finds the greatest challenge is teaching others how to identify these traits. The initial stages involve plenty of team collaboration, sketches, and 3D computer models.
Once the bamboo is selected, it is time to build on site. While some installations are custom-made, several are “kits” that can be re-used for multiple festivals. From mandalas to gigantic spiders, each endeavor takes a new set of skills and requirements. Regardless of size or scale, Bamboo DNA is committed to showcasing the dynamism of one of the earth’s most amazing plants.