Design Trust Feature Grant

BAMBOO LEARNINGS FROM YANGON: Expanding Cantonese Bamboo Craftsmanship’s Social Impact and Design Solutions Space

Blue Temple

Although Hong Kong is known for its unique skyline, populated with buildings that have innovated in new forms of construction using steel and concrete, its long legacy of bamboo craftsmanship has not been able to follow. South-East Asia has recently seen tremendous development in the field, that has truly pushed the possibilities of creation and impact on local communities to new horizons. This project will fuel the ongoing debate in Hong Kong and bring to the table strong arguments to loosen the tight restraints that are currently limiting the significant benefits this traditional material has to offer to the city. Through a series of demonstrative pavilions built in Yangon, following the high standards of construction in Hong Kong, these bamboo pavilions will explore new possibilities of utilization and participatory processes of design and dissipate the collected data to allow for new opportunities to arise.

About Raphael Monnier

During the seven years living in China, Raphaël has shown great interest in Mandarin and Chinese culture that lead him to attend a year fully immersed in a local Chinese boarding school in Beijing at the age of 15. Later, he started his own fashion brand of Bow Ties inspired by Chinese traditional fabrics and the hybridization of cultures. He participated in many fashion shows, auctions, photoshoots and markets in Canada, France, England, and China. After graduating from the architecture department of McGill University in Canada, Raphaël worked for two years in Tokyo as an architect / urban planner. He has now started a company based and registered in Myanmar called Blue Temple. Today, he teaches studio and computational design for the Master’s program of Architecture at Yangon Technological University.

About Blue Temple

Blue Temple was founded in Yangon, Myanmar in 2018. The very young architecture and planning startup debuted by; initiating projects ranging from micro-architecture proposals to public space designs on an urban scale, to data-driven mapping projects on a national level; organizing seven 'Free of Charge Architecture Design Workshops' that promotes creative and critical thinking across the country in collaboration with local and international universities; and doing freelance design work in Yangon and Shanghai to sustain itself. They now have an office and work with clients interested in bamboo structures, community-focused projects, creative and experimental thinking. Their interest in public space design continues to grow, and new opportunities to collaborate with local communities and representatives are showing up. Today, they are striving to create meaningful designs that can have a direct positive impact on low-income communities throughout the country, to explore new sets of values and meaning architecture has the power to create.