Tastemakers: Our Paper Life

For all, the idea of cardboard furniture seems a little absurd. Who would wish to have a cardboard desk? Would it work?

Yes, say Chris Porteous and Geoff Christou of Our Paper Life. They would like to create the process of building, purchasing, and putting together furniture as simple as possible. And for these, the reasonably priced and quick solution was to create their pieces out of caliberrecyclable cardboard.

These bits are water resistent, simple to assemble and reasonably priced. “These bits can do everything that they need to,” says Christou. “They fulfill their functions — to hold books or laptops — and are a positive, frictionless part of life.” While it’s not suited for everybody, these simple designs look like they have been made with college students or first-time renters in your mind. Best of all, they’re challenging the way that we think about furniture.

Read on for more of Christou’s perspectives on design now.

Our Paper Life Desk – $19.99

This cardboard desk is affordable, eco-friendly, lightweight, and sometimes even water resistant. Made to simply make your life simpler, you can decorate it, draw it, pin it, or even staple on to it.

Q: What is it about paper which inspires you?
A: Using cardboard is exciting because it’s made up of 95% recycled material, is 100% recyclable — and yet is quite strong, stable, and lightweight. It’s an excellent material to work with because it allows for so many distinct possibilities. Also, the ubiquity of cardboard as well as the ease of manufacturing (in 1 step) make it ideal for applications such as furniture.

Q: How did you get started in product design?
A: I had completed architecture college and was traveling through London once I stopped, transfixed by an inlaid jewelry box in a storefront window. I believed, I could do so, then came home and began furiously designing.

Our Paper Life Shelf – $19.99

Although made from cardboard, this bookshelf is strong — it can hold books, books, magazines, clothes, shoes, and just about anything else. It’s cheap, lightweight, and waterproof.

Q: What kind of changes do you see occurring in product design now?
A: Compared to this imitation wood-veneer bookcases, desks and pieces of furniture that are omnipresent (and exceptionally inefficient), I see a tendency towards honest design, wherein simple materials are celebrated rather than concealed behind imitation plastic patterned decals and coatings.

Materials like polypropylene, plywood (or in our case( cardboard) are shown to be amazing. There is a desire for an authentic relationship between the user, the thing, and the firm which manufactured it. I see this as a cooperation between the user and the item.

Q: Exactly what are you trying to convey with your designs?
A: irrespective of how much an objects costs, how much time it’s used, whether it’s cardboard or marble, it could be aesthetic and certain in a space. The process of purchasing, transporting, assembling, using, and disassembling furniture is what I focused on — I wished to make this experience enjoyable and simple at all phases.

I don’t feel that assembling a desk or bookcase needs to take more than 5 minutes, however I have heard anecdotes of hours or even days spent small and cursing with tiny screws and fragile fire-board pieces. I am trying to say that a well-designed merchandise can contribute to wellbeing, instead of taking away from it.

Q: How has your work evolved since you first started? How can you see it evolving in the future?
A: My work was of diverse scales and materials, from large pavilions, to birdhouses, to the cardboard bookcases. In the brief decade of my career, I have discovered a large change in how I spend my time as a designer and architect. I concentrate on the entire process as opposed to only on the finished item.

As I have heard more about methods and materials, I have come to understand that ultimate product is a random point in what is a lengthy, complicated, and complex material orchestra. It’s the use of this designer-architect to style this whole motion, from inception, to manufacturing, to delivery, to use, to disposal.

Q: What are some of your favourite new design trends?
A: I am stoked for its incorporation of mass-customization in product design, which is afforded by the diminishing price of pc fabrication technologies. To be able to fully customize products for people is among the most exciting trends in design.

Q: What designers inspire you?
A: Jonathan Ives, the present industrial designer for Apple is a professional material-technician, he understand the limitations and possibilities of the stuff he works with. I was inspired by him to always use prototypes built of the last material at full size.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses exhibit a keen sense of proportion, rhythm and cadence. Being inside of these, walking through their halls, and sitting in their own rooms, it’s impossible not to feel at home.

Directors and founders of Our Paper Life, Geoff Christou (right) and Chris Porteous.

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