The world would have been such a non-happening place if some of us didn’t have that madness to create something new, something out of the way, something worthwhile. And it takes more than passion. It takes courage to morph that new idea into something the world can see. More so when what you are leaving behind in pursuit of that dream is perhaps a much more tempting job with a fatter paycheck!
How many can muster the guts to resign from a high profile job of apparel design at Donna Karan New York, a great city and a nearly settled life to go back to their childhood passion? Elora Hardy had it! Yes. She left her job at ‘the’ DKNY to return to Bali, the place where she was born and brought up. And she returned to pursue what she knew her heart wanted to – creating world’s strongest and most beautiful bamboo houses.
As a child, she designed her first bamboo house at the age of 9. It was a mushroom shaped house. And she, along with her father John, did bring alive the painting of that mushroom house in the form of living bamboo sticks standing tall and firm on the ground. She also shows us the picture. In fact, she shows pictures of many of her creations and they are simply outstanding! Imagine building a house that doesn’t use cement and iron and marble. Amazing isn’t it? And if you are thinking, ‘what about all those poor bamboo sticks? Aren’t we destroying trees?’ then there is a very simple answer to this. A bamboo bush grows and matures in only 3 months of its planting. Which means, you can grow as much and use as much of bamboo.
Elora returned to Bali to her parents and found a company called ‘Ebuku’. Ebu stands for ‘mother’ andKu stands for ‘mine’ so Ebuku literally means – ‘My Mother’ and she refers to mother Earth here. She has a wonderful team of engineers who could have been somewhere building high rise buildings but are with her in her passion and dream of sustainable and non-polluting construction.
They are currently working on a project called ‘Green Village’ which is a community of 30 homes, all made of bamboo. They follow a very different procedure for designing the homes. They first draw it on a sheet of paper and then model it out. A miniature model of the home is created using bamboo. And, you can punch it and check for yourself. It won’t fall. Yes! You got it right. Bamboo houses are absolutely earthquake resistant! A bamboo house stands stronger than a cement-brick-mortar house and lasts for a lifetime of taken care of properly. The 30 village project has each house designed differently and uniquely. They have customized it according to the needs of the residents. She shows a picture where the TV room is in the shape of a basket!
In short, they build handmade houses; homes which are beautiful because they combine the elements of nature. And if you are worried about the AC, give it away. You can always shut the glass doors and use the AC! Ebuku and Elora are together creating the most advanced bamboo structures in the world.
Elora calls it ‘taking your personal stand’ for growing in the world. You could learn from a crisis, grown with a society or take your own personal stand. This is hers! She is not a trained architect or engineer or MBA. But she is a dreamer and a learner. From the mushroom house to beautiful bamboo structures, she has learned things as she walked her own path. And she proves that with big dreams and great teams, you can bring about a change.
Elora takes pride in what she is creating, in the stand she is taking for herself. And we take pride in her own little initiative towards creating a sustainable future.