Bamboo is one of the buzzwords in the world of audio racks at the moment. In the never-ending search for new and interesting materials bamboo is receiving much attention. But, as Dennis Greenaway of Atacama explained to me, there are several reasons why it is such an attractive proposition. First and foremost is of course its suitability for audio equipment because of its rigidity, favourable density and consistency. He explained that the hardwoods that are available these days are usually supplied from harvested trees that can vary wildly in all of these properties. Most come from ain forests too and Atacama have a responsible attitude to the environment and feel uncomfortable using up these valuable resources. Chinese Bamboo on the other hand has the required properties as, when you harvest a bamboo tree someway up the trunk, it immediately starts to grow again at its previous formidable rate. Couple this with its high Co2 absorption and you have a Carbon neutral material.
Classified as a grass the oak-sized bamboo trunk used industrially is in fact a huge hollow tube. These are split in half lengthways before being flattened to make planks and then resin-bonded together under great pressure, cut and formed into the four-legged shelves that form the Eco range. At the present time these are available in three different heights (125mm, 175mm and 225 mm) and are stacked level by level (up to five) upon a base unit that is distinguished by very short (30mm) legs. Spikes provide the base footings so wooden floors will require protectors. Each subsequent level sits neatly within a cone and cup arrangement but Atacama have wisely decided to hard couple these through the entire height of the structure with steel rods that link each interface. In this way the spikes at the base have the continuous connection through to the top shelf that is desirable for the resonancecontrol that, in many ways, is about coupling.
The shelves themselves are big both width and depthwise with wide legs and it must be said will dwarf many smaller audio components though very few will be too large to be accommodated within it, except perhaps for some really big power amplifiers or those that generate huge amounts of heat. In these cases I would say that a freestanding Eco base might well be an ideal solution. The overall width of the rack is a substantial 660mm while the gap between the front legs is 485mm. Perhaps we might see a smaller, more compact version in the future. It would be well worth it I think for those who want to take advantage of the Bamboo isolation but have smaller electronics. Weight also, should not be a problem, as each shelf will handle up to 30kg. The flat fronted shelves curve back into a semi-circular shape and have an open-sided cable management hole at the rear.