Of all the interior design trends to pop up, you’d be forgiven for overlooking cardboard as a textile you’d want in your home.
However, a rise in sustainable living coupled with some epic designs has made cardboard furniture a beautiful, yet unsuspecting contender.
While cardboard beds have long since been used for temporary sleeping measures in disaster situations, the public first properly heard about them during the Tokyo Olympics when athletes slept on cardboard beds in a bid to host a more eco-friendly event.
Gerald Dissen, CEO of Room In A Box – an interiors company that specialises in producing zero-waste, cardboard furniture explains that a big inspiration for using cardboard as a material was making a lighter option to the, usually bulky, traditional options.
The 37-year-old from Berlin explained that while studying at university he came across cardboard furniture at a sustainability fair and was impressed with the stability and look of the furniture.
This Nordwerk chair ‘the MC 302’ is available for free download. People can find the plans and build it themselves
Room In A Box deliberately chose corrugated board because they saw its advantages. Using no environmentally harmful adhesives, their furniture is also assembled by hand
Each of their pieces of furniture is designed and manufactured as a fully-fledged alternative to a conventional item
Cardboard furniture can be recycled at the end of its life cycle, but it is by no means a throwaway piece of furniture
‘Obviously, the main reason is the sustainability aspect, which is becoming more present and important due to climate change,’ explained Gerald.
‘In addition, companies like us are increasingly raising awareness for alternative, sustainable products, so that prejudices such as inferior quality and poor durability of the material can be reduced.’
‘It is our mission to raise awareness for the benefits of cardboard furniture, to bring it out of the niche market and make it accessible to the wider society.’
Of course, a question most would have after seeing cardboard furniture, no matter how great it looks, is how long it will actually last?
The Room In A Box mission is to raise awareness for the benefits of cardboard furniture, to bring it out of the niche market and make it accessible to the wider society
Room In a Box Cardboard furniture is made of strong kraft papers ensures good resistance, even to liquids
Furniture is designed to consist of as few components as possible, which can be easily replaced and allow modifications
No one wants to sign up to purchasing a shelf that’s going to need replacing every year but, thankfully, the durability is better than most might expect.
‘Although our cardboard furniture can be recycled at the end of its life cycle, it is by no means a throwaway piece of furniture,’ Gerald added.
‘In fact, quite the opposite – each of our pieces of furniture is designed and manufactured as a fully-fledged alternative to a conventional piece of furniture.’
‘The use of strong kraft papers ensures good resistance, even to liquids. It makes them durable and long-lasting. The well-designed connector systems and structures, such as the special rhombus structure of the bed, provide additional stability.’
Room In A Box also rely on modular construction methods in their designs, which allow an extremely high degree of flexibility in their use
Gerald Dissen, CEO of Room In A Box, with his business partner Lionel create cardboard furniture for interiors
With good treatment, Gerald estimates that their cardboard furniture has a life expectancy of about ten years.
Room In A Box also rely on modular construction methods in their designs, which allow an extremely high degree of flexibility in their use. They are designed to consist of as few components as possible, which can be easily replaced and allow modifications.
Flexible construction methods, modularity and simplicity play a role in all the designs, Gerald went on to say.
‘We deliberately chose corrugated board because we saw its advantages,’ he said. ‘Using no environmentally harmful adhesives at all, our furniture is assembled by hand. The result is a high quality and durable design product, manufactured under fair and environmentally friendly conditions.’
Cardboard chairs are increasing in beauty as designers find new ways to make them aesthetically pleasing
NordWek built the ‘largest self-supporting paper structure in the world’ that covered over 198 square meters
NordWerk design, a Vancouver-based architectural studio, is another company with cardboard-focused work.
Along with furniture – some of which has free available templates for the public to download – they create huge structures completely from cardboard.
Building the ‘largest self-supporting paper structure in the world’ that covered over 198 square meters, it really becomes clear just how much opportunity there is with a textile a simple as cardboard.
Who knows where the future will take this trend, but Gerald assures FEMAIL it’s not going anywhere soon.
He continued: ‘Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in all areas – whether in fashion, food, mobility and of course also interior. Therefore, we see the demand for cardboard furniture increasing and we believe that in the future it will no longer be seen as an alternative but as furniture of equal value.’