The Best Bamboo & Simon Velez boutique design firm – GigaGrass -mostly known for their pioneering work with Guadua Bamboo have partnered to develop breathtaking architectural projects with the best bio-materials available.
Gigagrass a boutique design firm by simón vélez and stefana simic, mostly known for their pioneering work with natural materials – in particular bamboo – has partnered with the best bamboo to provide incredible design with the very best sustainable materials available.
Simón Velez and wife Stefana Simic, architect from Columbia University, invited me to their home in the Calendaria, Bogotá. Once you step a foot inside I immediately understood the genius of Simon’s work with the Bamboo as the main player all around.
Why did we decided to form an alliance between the two companies?
Simple: simplicity, resiliency, and more important an honest expression of materials that are a fundamental criteria to form a design concept to detailing and material selection are exactly what we both envision for our customers. For years The Best Bamboo has been trying to provide our customers a new solution to develop really beautiful constructions with Bamboo, so this partnership is basically a dream come true to all people wanting to take Bamboo to the next level.
Simón Vélez and his skillful team and workers have completed more than 300 project to date all around the world!
Born in Manizales, Colombia in 1949, Simon Velez is the son and grandson of architects. Almost 35 years ago, Simon discovered a very simple construction technique that revolutionized the way we can build with bamboo. This technique, consisting of injecting cement mortar in the empty chambers of bamboo where there are structural unions, allows for the bamboo to be utilized for the first time as a true “vegetal steel.”
While the architecture of Simon Velez has a strong reference to vernacular traditions, he has pushed the limits of bamboo construction to achieve more modern and contemporary structural and architectural expressions – large spans, voluminous spaces with impressive heights, elliptical domes and cupula structures.
Located one kilometer from the city zoo, the Cali Botanical Garden is a great place to learn about the biodiversity of the Valle del Cauca. This place has twelve stations built with organic materials in twelve hectares of tropical forest. There, you can appreciate processes such as flower pollination and walk an 800m trail where you can see native species.
In the central square of the Garden stands the lookout tower designed by Simón Vélez, a four-story structure that, unlike his previous works, is not intended to observe the landscape but rather the vegetation cover of the Botanical Garden.
«It is a tower designed so that as people ascend, they can see the tree canopy at its different heights, because a forest at ground level is not the same as one as you go up. It was made with Eucalyptus pellita wood, bamboo, concrete, and a lot of steel, and it is practically finished,» explains architect Vélez.
2016 Architecture Biennale – La Biennale di Venezia
2009 The Principal Prince Claus Award
2006 Award of Honor in Analysis and Planning for “Crosswaters Ecolodge” – American Society of Landscape Architects
2018 Contemplation Bamboo Pavilion, Arles, France
2016 Marina and Restaurant, Islas Secas, Panama
2014 Social Housing Prototype
2010 Indian Pavilion, EXPO Shanghai, China (design of bamboo structure)
2008 Nomadic Museum, Zocalo de la Ciudad de Mexico
2009 Temple of No Religion, Cartagena, Colombia
2005 Ecolodge Hotel. Guangzhou, China
2003 Jenny Garzon Pedestrian Bridge, Bogota, Colombia
2002 Cathedral of Our Lady of Poverty, Pereira
2002 Reggae Stage, Ochoríos, Jamaica
2000 ZERI Pavilion, EXPO Hannover, Germany