A new perch with views of Rome
Rome’s latest monument, the Big Bambu, is a 33m-high structure that resembles a bird’s nest. (Nicolee Drake)
Over the past two months, about 30 rock climbers have been piecing together Rome’s latest monument – a 33m high structure that resembles a bird’s nest. Designed by American artists and identical twins Doug and Mike Starn, Big Bambu is made from more than 8,000 pieces of Balinese bamboo in a spiralling, double helix shape, and visitors are encouraged to climb the public art piece, recline on bamboo-made benches and enjoy the view.
The bamboo behemoth, which opens on 11 December, sits at the entrance to the Macro museum’s satellite location in Rome’s burgeoning Testaccio neighbourhood. The Starn twins consider their work a “mindscape” as the piece is literally whatever the viewer wants it to be -- from art exhibition and public work to hangout and hideaway. In fact, Big Bambu is the physical embodiment of the Starn twins’ chaos philosophy where, as Mike explained it, “everything grows and exists in a state of random interdependence”.
This is not Big Bambu’s only appearance. Previous incarnations appeared on the roof terrace of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2010 and next to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal during the 2011 Venice Biennale contemporary art festival, with future Big Bambu sculptures planned in other parts of the world. Rome’s Big Bambu is, as of now, the tallest of the series, and is a permanent installation thanks to ENEL, Italy’s electric utility company. The Starn brothers were handpicked for the ENEL Contemporanea prize, which is awarded to artists to create public art installations in Italy.