“It’s time to ditch fast furniture like you have ditched fast food.”El Dot Designs
The ingenuity and wisdom of indigenous cultures allied to today’s technology and potential of global commerce gave birth to a very creative and mindful home furnishings design company. Meet El Dot. They are your bamboo heroes. About 90% of their products is made of this formidable renewable resource as well as other sustainable materials. If you are looking for conscious design, look no further.
Founded by Leo and Lishu Rodrigues, both environmental artists and designers, El Dot Designs started as a small Los Angeles studio in 2003. After transitioning through Kathmandu, Nepal, and learning everything about the potentials of bamboo, the firm moved back to the United States in 2007 to reestablish itself in Poulsbo, WA.
Now working also as distributors, El Dot focuses in using design as a catalyst for change. They provide employees with skill development, collaborate with local and global artisans, organizations and ethical businesses to ensure they stay true to their commitment to developing handmade products. Their work is as much an industrial revolution as a social movement for a triple bottom line: People, Planet, and Profit.
” We know business can be a force of good for our communities and our environment. We are certified as a Beneficial Corporation or B Corp. to ensure accountability and transparency for all our decisions and actions.” Lishu Rodriguez
Their products have a lot of personality, with original designs that create a perfect mix of modern and native. The quality craftsmanship highlights a taste for simple and yet beautiful details. Some carry the raw aspect of the bamboo, and some are made of what they call Plyboo, in flat grain, edge grain, and strand bamboo. Plywood bamboo is what is most commonly seen in flooring and paneling. It gives bamboo a modern look and transforms its tubed shape into something more malleable. A perfect substitute for wood and a better, more durable material than MDF.
Bamboo has the potential to alleviate social disparity and to revitalize the ecological balance of our contemporary global society. It is the fastest growing woody plant and captures 30% more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) than trees. Bamboo is a highly renewable substitute for wood in the furniture and construction industries. It grows particularly well in tropical and sub-tropical areas, most of which are in developing countries. Rural communities in these areas have abundant, yet underutilized natural resources and crafting traditions. With the right design, training, and infrastructure, local artisans can be mobilized to produce quality bamboo products for contemporary society that would sustain livelihoods and supply the ever-growing need for green consumer products. – The Change We Seek™
Winning The Market
Competing with products Made in China is not an easy task. It requires a long term plan and lots of endurance and resilience. Luckly, for El Dot, the investment has not gone unnoticed. Recently, SFC (Sustainable Furnishings Council) has awarded the company Silver Exemplary Membership for their work in fostering sustainability within the American Furniture Industry. However, true recognition goes beyond awards. It’s about being the choice customers make at the time of purchase. So, when I asked Lishu about their debut in the Las Vegas Market last month, she had only good things to say: “The show was really good for us. We got our feet wet in the American Furniture Industry and we learned a lot. Orders were decent but lots of leads and interests from our targeted customers. Now we are on to the next show in NY in August.”. That is a testament that consumers want to buy good products tagged with social value.