One of this year’s memorable exhibitions was Fibra Architectures in the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in Paris. It was about architecture made of, yes, fiber: seagrass, bamboo, palm leaves, reeds, sugarcane leaves, banyan tree roots, straw, mycelium, wheat stalks, wicker, willow branches and the humblest of all – grass.
For his entire adult life, the Brazilian engineer Alvaro Abreu smoked. By the time he was 46 he was smoking three packs a day. In 1995 he had a heart attack and his doctor said: no more cigarettes. Alvaro – nickname Zau Zau – heeded his advice, but was going crazy fidgeting, trying to find something to do with his hands.
Then he had an idea. He lives in the state of Espirito Santo in southeastern Brazil, north of Rio, where bamboo is plentiful. And he has always loved making things, so he had tools. With simple tools he made an equally simple utensil out of bamboo – a spoon.