Like a ton of paper.
Design Academy Eindhoven graduate, Woojai Lee, was one designer whose work caught our eye at Dutch Design Week 2016. The Korean-New Zealander designer, now based in the Dutch city where he has a studio, has pioneered his ‘Paper Bricks’ as a sustainable product of recycled paper.
One of the most produced and discarded materials in the world, paper cannot be reused indefinitely as each process shortens the paper fibres. Lee’s product uses recycled newspapers which have a very short lifespan, and combines the pulp with glue before setting in moulds.
Used mainly to make pieces of furniture, the sturdy structures have the silhouette of real bricks, but with a mottled, marble effect that gives a textile-like appearance, softness and warmth. They can be stacked, holes allow them to be connected, and can be cut or drilled much like wood. “The form of the bricks was chosen to minimise the material usage, minimise the deformation and maximise strength,” Lee told Dezeen. “I wanted to give paper rubbish a new life as a much stronger and longer-lasting material.”
Continuing the theme of sustainability that was widespread at DDW, as well as surprising new materials like Zospeum’s translucent concrete, Lee is looking to new ways to use the bricks – which were displayed as benches and tables at the event – in other ways, like wall panels. DDW visitors were welcomed to sit on and use the pieces, demonstrating the strength of the bricks, which are as sturdy as you would expect from their stone counterparts, while being tactilely and visually softer, suiting use in interiors.