This week, as NYCxDESIGN was winding to a close in New York, another design event halfway around the world was just kicking off. Future Design Week in Bali, Indonesia, opened Friday, May 17, with a full seven days of programming surrounding sustainable design, including talks, exhibitions, installations, workshops, and more from international speakers such as conservationist Mike Long and entrepreneur Tony Fadell, the founder of Nest. As an island vulnerable to climate change and rapidly shifting seasons, Bali is a particularly apt setting to discuss strategies of sustainable design. The event also offered presentations and demonstrations true to its unique, tropical locale, including a hands-on workshop wherein participants learned the craft of building bamboo reciprocal towers—a foundational technique in sustainable construction found throughout Bali’s villages.
Among the demonstrations was one by British designer Max Lamb, who unveiled brand-new furnishings, glassware, and ceramics made exclusively for Beach House, the newest property from Indonesian hospitality brand Potato Head—the lead sponsor and main site for the design fair. “This is an inaugural year, but already it's started with a very strong manifesto, and that is environment first,” Lamb tells AD PRO. Lamb’s diverse collection features a bamboo lounge chair, a notable highlight within the lot. “Bamboo grows incredibly quickly and can be harvested repeatedly," the designer explains. “I designed a collection of furniture eight years ago called Wood Ware using bamboo. The design translated beautifully—the nodes and naturally occurring details in [the plant] really added to and accentuated the design.”
Meanwhile, Lamb’s festively speckled plastic Study Chair takes single-use plastics and gives them a long-lasting purpose. Recycled plastic sheets from Smile Plastics, a manufacturer that fabricates pressed panels from post-industrial plastic waste such as yogurt cups and cosmetic bottles, were brought over from the U.K. to Bali in order to utilize a local workforce. “I designed the chair in a way that allows the craftspeople here to fabricate them,” Lamb explains. “They are all made by hand, and each one has a unique personality and characteristic.” An earthenware tea set and glassware rounded out Lamb’s collection for Beach House. “The inspiration for the ceramic collection and the glassware came from the Balinese beaches, [with their] black volcanic sand,” he adds. “The 14 ceramic pieces, glassware bottle, and drinks glasses were made using the black volcanic lava sand as a primary ingredient, lending a textural quality that makes them very distinctive.”
Lamb was in good company, with British artist and designer Faye Toogood also debuting a new line of rattan furniture pieces to be permanently installed throughout the Beach House property. Toogood’s furniture collection for Beach House merged the seamless curves and fecund rotundity of her signature Roly Poly line with wrapped rattan—a material often associated with lush island life, for its airiness and breathability in warm and humid climates. Elsewhere, artist, designer, and all-around disruptor Virgil Abloh, founder of Off-White and artistic director of menswear for Louis Vuitton, capped off the week with a special DJ set, along with New York–based skater and designer Alex Olson, at Potato Head Beach Club.
Ultimately, the first-ever Future Design Week in Bali posed the important question: “How can design help build a better world?” The inquiry may have been too lofty and vast to be conclusively answered in one week, but, hopefully, many more editions of the event will make progress toward bettering the future with design.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest