BULRUSH zooms in the Bunho technique – a unique Portuguese basketry technique that shapes the natural fibre Bulrush (Schoenoplectrus Palla), into a intricate mesh of knots and stitches.
Nowadays, the Bunho technique is kept by the hands and know-how of only two artisans in Europe: one of them is Manuel Ferreira. With the intention of preserving and highlighting such important heritage, Bulrush combines the most iconic shape the technique takes – the spiral – with metal structures to create a new dynamic between both materials.
ARTISAN: Manuel Ferreira is living in Santarém, Portugal, and is currently one of the very few artisans working with Bunho – the endangered basketry technique. Before retirement, he is willing to transfer his knowledge to the younger generation.
DESIGNER: MACHEIA is a design studio, based in Lisbon. Created in 2020 by Italian-German product designer Lucrezia Papillo and Mozambican-Portuguese architect Iany Gayo. With an intentional focus on natural fibers and ancient techniques, MACHEIA’s work ranges from “transfer of know-how” related products, collaborative installations and private commissions.
BUSINESS: Allegra Zanirato was born in Italy and lived in Porto, São Paulo and Bordeaux. From 2019 to 2022 she worked at KWY.studio specialising in art production and exhibition design. From her interest in art and design she co-founded Cosebelle, a research project focused on production services for young artists and designers.
The chair’s concept is rooted in the notion that every wheel starts around a hand. The hole – the imprint of the creator’s hand, is here highlighted by the organically shaped metal pointing out where the chair begins. The rhythm of the metal elements of the chair is set by the stitches from the technique. The technique is seen through a new lens, raw and exposed, bringing it closer to its identity as a plant.
Inspired by Tanho, the most iconic piece of the Bunho technique, the semi stool is a
hybrid between a sitting stool and a side table. The bulrush spiral extends into a metal
semicircle that embraces the wheel into the metal structure. The low seat’s organic
shape represents a release from the spiraling motion raised by two legs that are in
between covering all and leaving completely open.