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Green Design - Cardboard as a Design Medium

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Green Design - Cardboard as a Design  Medium

Interior designer Hildi Santo-Tomas has made a name for herself by designing unusual and creative rooms for TLC’s “Trading Spaces.” Her design aesthetic was so out-of-the-box that show participants tended to either love or hate her style - usually the latter. One of Hildi’s most memorable TV moments occurred during the show’s 3rd season, when she transformed a drab attic bedroom into a cutting-edge boudoir with cardboard wallpaper and furniture. Yes, cardboard FURNITURE. While she directed the show’s carpenter to build a custom wooden bed, Hildi treated the Atlanta residents to a set of chairs and coffee table formed from corrugated cardboard, which she’d purchased in France. As expected, the conservative recipients of the daring design weren’t too pleased. However, it seems that Hildi may have been onto something. Afterall, artists are often well ahead of their times. 

These days we’re seeing cardboard used in many unexpected places. Of course, innovative designers are still using the medium to make furniture. Dutch designers Maartje Nuy and Joost van Noort have created the "Vouwwow" chair (translated to “wow it folds” in English). The chair has even won the Thonet Mart Stamprijs 2009 award for best chair design. Made from recycled materials, the design won extra points for environmental sustainability. The collapsible nature of the chair also makes it easy to store and transport.

Now furniture made of cardboard may not amaze you, but what about a computer?! That’s right - even major electronics are getting the corrugated treatment… in theory, anyway. Designer Je Sung Park likes to remind people that disposable cameras are now commonplace and disposable cell phones are on the market as well. Accordingly, Park takes the leap into the realm of personal computing and offers that a lightweight, easy to use computer made of recycled paper products is the wave of the future. So far, the electronics of Park’s design has yet to materialize. But with the advancements in chip and screen technology, a cardboard laptop is certainly possible. Whether anyone would buy it remains to be seen.


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