Author: Soma
April 10, 2024

Bengaluru airport is classic example of Biophilic & Regenerative design using bamboo as a raw material 

Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport, particularly Terminal 2, is a front runner in regenerative design by incorporating bamboo as a key element. It exemplifies the concept of Biophilic & Regenerative Design. The design prioritizes a connection to nature, echoing Bengaluru’s “garden city” title. Bamboo, a fast-growing and renewable resource, complements this philosophy. Engineered bamboo offers a robust, eco-friendly alternative to conventional materials like wood or steel. It reduces the airport’s environmental footprint. The use of bamboo, along with natural elements like brick and interior greenery, creates a calming and pleasant atmosphere for travelers. Overall, Bengaluru Airport’s Terminal 2 showcases regenerative design by promoting sustainability, fostering a natural connection, and enhancing passenger well-being, all while utilizing innovative bamboo construction.

Regenerative Design

Van der Ryn argues that green design only slows the rate of destruction. Designers are increasingly prepared to acknowledge that design practices not only need to do no harm, they must initiate regenerative processes to replace the degeneration resulting from past practices.

Regenerative design is a holistic design approach that moves beyond basic high performance design towards renewal-focused impacts and metric-driven targets for carbon, water, nutrients, air, biodiversity, social and health categories. Regenerative design aspires to realize net positive benefits in these areas and move towards long-term circularity. It’s about designing systems that not only minimize harm but also actively improve the health of ecosystems and human well-being. Regenerative design can be applied to a wide range of fields, from architecture and landscape design to product design and business. 

Here are some of the key principles of regenerative design:

  • Whole systems thinking: Considering the interconnectedness of all things in a project and its surrounding environment.
  • Coevolution of humans and nature: Designing systems that work in harmony with nature, rather than against it.
  • Place-based design: Taking into account the unique characteristics of a place when designing for it.
  • Continuous adaptation: Designing systems that can adapt to change over time. 

Regenerative design goes beyond just sustainability; it aims to improve the environment and social aspects along with reducing our impact. Bamboo is emerging as a superstar material in circular economy and regenerative design. The beauty of bamboo lies in how it bridges circular economy, regenerative and biophilic design principles: 

Circular Economy Champion:

  • Rapidly Renewable:  Bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource that thrives without pesticides or fertilizers. Its fast growth cycle makes it a sustainable choice for building materials and champion for renewable resources. Bamboo replenishes itself quickly, unlike trees used for traditional lumber. This means we can harvest bamboo regularly without harming the ecosystem, unlike traditional forestry practices that can lead to deforestation. By providing a dependable source of materials, bamboo reduces pressure on existing forests and promotes a closed-loop system.
  • Minimal Waste: Efficient processing techniques for bamboo products minimize waste. Additionally, bamboo discards can often be composed or used for bioenergy, further reducing reliance on landfills.
  • Versatility is Key: This versatility allows for creative reuse and upcycling within the circular economy.

Regenerative Design Powerhouse:

  • Soil Health: Bamboo’s extensive root network acts as a superhero for soil health. It helps prevent soil erosion and promotes healthy soil conditions. This benefits the overall ecosystem.
  • Water Management: Bamboo can be used to create filtration systems and even lightweight water channels in regenerative landscapes.
  • Community Upliftment: Bamboo can be a source of income for local communities through sustainable harvesting and processing. Regenerative design often emphasizes supporting local communities, especially rural women, fostering economic development and social well-being — a key aspect of regenerative design. 
  • Bioremediation: Some studies suggest bamboo can help absorb pollutants from soil and water, contributing to environmental cleaning.
  • Carbon Sequestration: Bamboo products themselves act as carbon stores. The carbon captured while the bamboo was growing remains trapped within the material for the product’s span. This offers a double benefit — reducing atmospheric carbon and keeping it stored for an extended period, mitigating climate change.
  • Environmental and Social Impact: While reducing environmental impact is priority in both philosophies, regenerative design goes a step further by aiming to improve the environment. Bamboo’s ability to improve soil health and support communities aligns perfectly with this goal.
  • Sustainable Products: From tableware to clothing, bamboo offers a fast-growing alternative to resource-intensive materials in various regenerative product designs. 

Biophilic Design Application:

Bamboo is poised for a prominent role in the future of Biophilic design due to its unique blend of aesthetic appeal and sustainability. It’s about creating a holistic system, continues to gain traction, expect to see bamboo incorporated even more extensively in:

  • Natural Building components: Bamboo beams, wall panels, and flooring will likely become commonplace in biophilic construction. Bamboo serves as a viable alternative to materials like timber, steel, and concrete, all with significant carbon footprints during production. By opting for bamboo products, we can reduce our reliance on these emission-intensive industries.
  • Interior designs: Furniture, wall art, and other decorative elements crafted from bamboo will add a touch of nature to indoor environments. Bamboo can be woven, laminated, and treated to create a wide range of design elements, from furniture and flooring to architectural beams and wall panels. 
  • Living Architecture: Bamboo’s potential for integration with living walls and green spaces offers exciting possibilities for biophilic design. Bamboo’s natural warmth and organic textures bring a touch of the outdoors into indoor spaces, aligning perfectly with biophilic principles.

Bamboo’s unique properties and versatility make it a game-changer in Circular economy, Biophilic & Regenerative design, promotes a cyclical approach where its use improves the environment and uplifts communities, making it a valuable material for building a more sustainable future.  

Shomaa Designs has been working in Eco-Design for more than a decade and its designer team is a pioneer in Biophilic and Regenerative design. Working on Circular economy on forefront to mitigate climate change. Shomaa Designs Consultancy is helping businesses design products with a focus on repairability, reusability, and recyclability, extending their lifespan and reducing waste. Our team conducts life cycle assessments to identify environmental hotspots in a product’s life cycle and suggest design changes to minimize environmental impact. We design products that can be easily re-manufactured or upcycled at the end of their useful life, reducing the need for virgin materials. 

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