Making use of natural materials such as concrete and wood, the Guangzhou-based studio Bentu meets eco-friendly and industrial design. Almost every piece they create features concrete made of cement and recycled construction waste. As a result, their furniture and decor is strong, long-lasting, and low-impact.
Their side table and stool set, Bu (or “not”), is no exception. Identical to one another except in size, both pieces are made of raw beech wood and one’s choice of a natural or pigmented concrete. Each stands on four wooden legs, jointed with a mortise and tenon, and is finished with a concrete tabletop or seat, connected with a screw. Resisting categorization, the resulting design is neither traditional nor contemporary, as it blends older and more recent imagery and techniques.
Li, translating as “force, strength, or power,” is a series of planters crafted from concrete and filled with soil and a paddy. Growing through the cracks in the slab, the unmilled rice seems to break through the hard material, as if to reclaim a place for greenery in industrial design and urban spaces.
Keeping their work light and natural, Bentu Designs incorporates bamboo into some of their products. In Dun, for example, the uniquely textured concrete jar is topped with a smooth bamboo lid. Similarly, in the case of Bei, or “shell,” the pendant lamp is composed of a tubular concrete dome and a flared bamboo shade. The design hangs from a black textile cord and is compatible with LEDs so that it is sustainable in function as well as form.