Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Humble Material: Cardboard!

Trees from toilet paper rolls by Yuken Teruya

Now and then I revisit an old love, cardboard, to see where it's going and what people are doing with it now. Can I even begin to count the many ways I love this humble material? It's got structure, it's got malleability, it can crumple or hold a person, depending on it's configuration. It has purpose (we make boxes out of it), and then it can be re-purposed. That brown has been a symbol of gift-giving and fort-building since as long as cardboard boxes existed.

Needless to say, I fell in love with cardboard when I first saw this iconic chair by Frank Gehry:

Frank Gehry, Wiggle Chair, 1972

I'm very pleased to find the cardboard design world is still thriving and striving to save the world through recycling genius. There are vases, book cases, sofas, coffee tables, and yes, even beds made of cardboard! 

created from Eric Guiomar's cardboard creation program, 2009

Radiolarian Sofa designed by Richard Sweeney in collaboration with Lazerian

Most recently, however, I've noticed the use of tubing more and more. I found this pair of designers from Argentina, who make furniture for their brand, Pomada, from reclaimed industrial tubing.

The designers, Bruno Sala and Antonela Dada, have won several awards this year for their outstanding work:

Named Chupitos, or "Shots", these little stools are terrific! Love the Chevron.

Another favorite of mine is Anastasia Elias, whose toilet-paper rolls are brilliant. They really touch my heart in a simple way. The lighting behind them casts a terrific glow:

Grand Nord. Renne, Cutting by Anastasia Elias, 2010

 And finally, having made displays for retail, I have total appreciation for this store installation, designed by Suppose Design, in Japan:

It's terrific to see cardboard growing as a more widely accepted material in design. I hope it continues and someday we see cardboard furniture in all our homes!

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