At London’s Gallery Fumi, British designer Max Lamb showcased 33 furniture pieces crafted entirely from recycled cardboard waste from his studio, challenging the material’s structural limits. The Box exhibition includes 23 chairs, a sofa and a dining table, all constructed using cardboard and a homemade flour-and-water glue. Painted stripes, created with mineral pigments and linseed oil instead of petroleum, provide the only decoration, ensuring the collection is plastic-free, infinitely recyclable, and easily repairable with common household tools. Know more about it on FURNITURE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY (FDT).
Lamb emphasizes the simplicity and accessibility of the materials used, making the pieces easily repairable with additional cardboard and flour paste. No new cardboard was purchased; instead, Lamb repurposed waste from his studio, from postage boxes to toilet rolls. The project explores whether cardboard can be structurally sound on its own, without requiring plastic reinforcements.
Maintaining the integrity of the original boxes, Lamb stacks them into various configurations for chairs and tables, using wheat flour paste for gluing. Structural reinforcement comes from cardboard lattices forming an internal skeleton. Offcuts are turned into papier-mache and applied to the furniture’s exterior, creating a supportive exoskeleton with up to 15 layers.
Lamb’s approach minimizes waste, using flimsy boxes as raw material, tearing them into strips and reusing offcuts as papier-mache to stabilize furniture. The combination of wood pulp cardboard, wheatpaste glue and linseed paint results in a plant-based, plastic-free collection that redefines cardboard as a primary material, challenging its traditional secondary role in design.
Image credit: Thomas Joseph Wright
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