Being as we’re fans of both innovative design and repurposed materials, we read with interest this week about the success of a Kickstarter aimed at funding the construction of a chair that’s made of recycled cardboard boxes. The chair is called the Re-Ply Chair (shit, we like puns, too), and will begin shipping in February of next year. It’s just one example of a trend toward making all sorts of fascinating objects out of cardboard, a medium that’s both cheap and resilient (so long as you don’t get it wet, we guess.) So here’s a selection of some of the most remarkable things we’ve seen made from cardboard, starting with the surprisingly practical and moving through to the flat-out amazing — an all-cardboard restaurant, anyone? Read on…
According to Boing Boing, where we first read about the Re-Ply project, the chair’s designer — one Dan Goldstein — has been working on the thing for six years. As with plenty of the other designers and artists in this feature, he aims to alter people’s ideas that cardboard is inherently disposable: “It is always just used in boxes that we toss away but it doesn’t have to be that way. That is one thing I like about the steel frame base, it puts it in the context of something durable and permanent.”
Ditto Israeli designer Izhar Gafni, who was in the news earlier this year for having designed and constructed a bicycle that is — believe it or not — made entirely out of new and recycled cardboard. The things cost about $10 to make, and as of October this year, Gafni was trying to get funding for a company to produce them.
A pinhole camera
The classic! People have been making pinhole cameras from old cardboard boxes since… well, since film and cardboard were invented, and constructing one is still a fun thing to experiment with. You can find instructions for a basic camera in loads of places on the internet (here, for instance), or you can opt for UK designer Kelly Angood’s swanky cardboard faux-Hasselblad (above) by clicking here.
Crossing into the realms of cool-rather-than-practical: it’s amazing what you can find on Etsy, and these cardboard shoes by UK designer and cardboard fetishist Mark O’Brien are a prime example. We can’t imagine that they’d would be a whole lot of use in the rain, but hey, they’ll turn heads either way.
On a similar note, a cardboard dresses isn’t really going to keep you warm, but still, it’s an impressive pieces of design and execution. There are more examples (along with a rather interesting discussion of what the word “cardboard” actually refers to) right here.
Yes, we are large Doctor Who nerds and yes, we find this highly exciting. If you too have dreamed of owning your own time machine, cunningly designed as a 1960s-era police box, then you’ll be delighted to know that you can download instructions — in PDF, Illustrator or SVG format — for constructing your own cardboard version right here. Whether it is, in fact, larger on the inside than on the outside is a question that sadly remains unanswered.
A giant boombox
German artist Bartek Elsner specializes in making all sorts of remarkable things out of cardboard — we’ve marvelled at his work before, and we’re still very impressed by the giant boombox he made to promote the International Radio Festival in Zurich. There’s more about how he constructed it at his website.
An entire office space
You can generally rely on ad agencies to have wacky office spaces, but still, we doubt many can compare to that which houses Amsterdam agency Nothing. The place is pretty much entirely made of cardboard, apparently in a nod to the agency’s name, which refers to “taking nothing and turning it into something.” If you’re interested, there are more photos here.
An entire restaurant
An office space is one thing — we’re not entirely sure that building a restaurant out of cardboard is such an awesome idea, given the presence of, y’know, ovens and all that. Still, that doesn’t appear to have deterred the owners of the restaurant at something called the Carton King Creativity Park, which from what we can gather is a cardboard-centric amusement park in Taichung, Taiwan. The restaurant serves food on cardboard plates, eaten with cardboard utensils and (by the look of the photo above, anyway) cooked in cardboard pots. What a time to be alive. More information here.
And finally, if you want to shoot someone with cardboard, why yes, you can do that too. It’s the American way! DIY website Instructables has instructions on how to construct a cardboard crossbow, which we present with every conceivable disclaimer about not actually shooting anyone/anything with the unholy contraption.