Imagine a forest of bamboo poles in your living room, hollowed out and drilled to allow for stereo speakers, lighting, even bottles of wine.

The totem-like stalks are part of a New York design show commissioned by the Nature Conservancy to show how beautiful fashionable objects can be produced in ways that don’t harm the environment.

Ten designers were chosen to fan out across the globe to places where the conservation group is at work to protect natural resources under siege from pollution, development and overuse. Their assignment was to partner with a community or business in the ecologically-sensitive extraction of raw materials and manufacturing of products that could be sold on world markets.

The result of their efforts — an amazing collection of food, home furnishings, fashion and other products — can be seen in Design for a Living World, which opened last month at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

Art works
• Ezri Tarazi took bamboo stalks from China’s Yunnan province and fashioned them into a media centre.

• Maya Lin took a single red maple from the Upper St. John River in Maine and turned it into a bench.

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