The Bamboo Gems Story
Created by Ray Culin and Janis Colella, BambooGems is a division of Culin & Colella, Inc., an established architectural woodworking company in Mamaroneck, NY (www.culincolella.com).
Ray Culin and Janis Colella have spent much of their lives surrounded by wood, and together bring a lifetime of experience to designing and building furniture. When their core business, designing and building high-end kitchens, libraries and related millwork was affected by the slowing economy, it was an opportunity to dive into a dream that Ray Culin had since 1993. He envisioned a quality furniture system that allows for a variety of designs and color possibilities, made any size, to fit your space and personal needs and all at a reasonable price. The tables, with their modular construction and myriad of shapes and details, resemble faceted gems, hence coining the name GEMtables, early on. “When we began using the bamboo material, it was immediately evident that it was a perfect match for the concept”, says Janis Colella, “it has beautiful edges, and is 100% solid and eco-friendly. It is even stronger and more stable than wood, a rapidly renewable resource, which grows in only 5 years”. GEMtables paved the way for the fine gifts collection, which then became BambooGems to encompass all the bamboo products. The existing designs demonstrate just how many ways there are to interpret this concept; from serious and understated, to whimsical and fun. It is appealing to designers and architects, as well as homeowners alike.
Their new venture is proving to be an intriguing concept in furniture manufacturing which is done competitively, in Mamaroneck, New York. “We are currently producing some very exciting designs, as a result of our customer’s needs, utilizing the BambooGems system”, says Ray. “We are still discovering more ways to use the mortise and tenon joinery, including making stools, benches with backs, and even a coat rack”.
Both Ray and Janis were educated primarily as furniture designers and makers. Ray, while studying Architecture at Rhode Island School of Design, also designed and built cabinetry and furniture in the woodshop. Janis, having spent years studying Fine Art and Sculpture, attended SUNY Purchase, in N.Y. where she discovered working in “wood”. By the time they met, they both had established careers as designer/makers, with a large clientele in the New York metropolitan area. Today they continue to design and build exquisite residential woodworking projects, like kitchens, libraries, media cabinetry, and custom furniture, while also making BambooGems.