By Megan Slack
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics may have concluded in August, but the event sparked an unconventional design trend. Following the news that the athletes slept on recycled cardboard beds (made by Japanese bedding company Airweave), the trend for cardboard furniture has surged, and all for a good reason.
While thoughts of cardboard furniture may feel synonymous with inevitable disaster, this trend is not all that it seems. Instead, designers worldwide are working to create durable, sustainable, and indisputably stylish pieces that are rapidly reshaping modern home decorating ideas of the future.
While Airweave arguably introduced the world to the power of cardboard, designers including Berlin-based ROOM IN A BOX and Dresden manufacturers Nordwerk Design are among those making cardboard furniture even more accessible to all. Here is everything you need to know about the industry’s latest fling with paper.
Why is cardboard furniture trending?
According to the CEO of Nordwerk, Maximilian Hansen, you don’t need to worry about the longevity of your cardboard pieces, as the idea that they are a fire hazard – or they will fall apart around water – is not true.
‘The reality is, thick rigid paperboard are in the same fire classification as wood. And it can be made flame retardant easily. But the perception is out there,’ Maximilian shares.
He also addresses the idea of sustainability – suggesting that instead of harming the environment, these cardboard pieces are a more ethical choice thanks to their recyclable qualities.
‘Most European cardboard comes from recycled fibers. And the required new fibers are waste from the wood industry. So there are no trees cut down in order to make paper,’ he explains.
He says that once the truth about its strength and sustainability are well-known, the trend will accelerate further. ‘More and more companies using this material in fields of design – as more people care for the environment and climate change,’ he adds in the discussion of the interior design trend.
As the images from ROOM IN A BOX demonstrate, these pieces work in all rooms of the home, from the bedroom and living room – to the new staple of your modern dining room ideas (above).
However, when experimenting with this trend, Maximilian urges you to invest in high-quality pieces that will complement your scheme – to create the statement you intended.
‘Just like wood cardboard comes in different qualities. Often cheap packaging material is mistaken for high-quality rigid paperboards. The latter is what most designers use when making high-quality designs,’ he says.
Is this the design idea of the future? Only time will tell. We’re willing to invest in this stylish paper either way.
Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly loves writing about contemporary styles and trends for Livingetc.
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