Bamboo might well be the most versatile material on the planet. Today it is used in construction (its tensile strength is greater than that of mild steel), plywoods, plastics, biofuel, medicine, 3D-printing and even juice. Not only is it strong, lightweight, and even tasty, it’s also eco-friendly. Bamboo is the world’s fastest-growing plant – some species grow more than three feet per day. It flourishes in marginal land, requires little water, and can be harvested without killing the plant. On top of this, it converts up to four times more CO2 into oxygen than normal trees. Which is why bamboo silks, bamboo rayons and now Tencel (a sustainable cellulosic fiber also made from bamboo) are making their way onto the runways of fashion brands and into our homes. IKEA is committed to using the material in more of its products, while designers at The Conran Shop have been experimenting with bamboo for years. The brand’s exclusive kilim rugs (pictured), for example, are made from a blend of 80 per cent bamboo and 20 per cent cotton, giving them the luxurious feel of silk but enough durability to endure steady footfall.