Recently, I purchased a faux bamboo coffee table and all these heavy memories flooded back in my mind. As a young child in eastern Europe I was invited to play with a foreign minister’s abusive son. I had little interest to play with the sadist but was eager to be escorted by the ministers egotistical wife who wanted to showcase all the treasures they had accumulated from years of theft. What captured my impressionable eyes was the exotic Chinoiserie – ivory, gold, bronze and lacquered objects, but specifically the faux bamboo furniture. I had never seen pieces made from brass to imitate bamboo and was fascinated by the whole idea.
My faux bamboo table reminds me of the all the amazing creators from the 1930s through the 1970s like Maison Jansen, Jacques Adnet, Maison Bagues and Hermes whose work with brass and leather created modern interpretations of bamboo. In the US, these masters were joined by the notorious bad boy James Mont who incorporated bamboo themes into his case goods and transformed the banal into the unusual. His gold, silver leafed and painted designs created a multi-layered effect over ebonized surfaces. Altogether lovely and memorable.