VOUWWOW! A Chair Made of Cardboard

VOUWWOW! A Chair Made of Cardboard

Leave it to the Dutch to synthesize two of my favorite design concepts—the structural advantages of the honeycomb and the ecological ethos of the simple, non-descript cardboard box! The two strategies make a fortuitous union in Joost Van Nort’s and Maartje Nuy’s expressive if somewhat unintelligible (to English speaker’s ears) VOUWWOW.

The foldable, portable, sustainable, and lightweight chair by the two designers just won the Thonet Mart Stamprijs 2009 Chair Design Competition, awarded by the Thonet jury to work that “stands out by the design, comfort, and the sustainability in every aspect…”

Though I think something may have been lost in the translation here, the point is taken: Van Nort and Nuy’s honeycomb cardboard chair won kudos for its wise materials use, ease of assembly, portability, and innovative bohemian aesthetic. The piece has affinities with some great voices from design’s past and present, the most overt of which is Gehry’s infamous Wiggle Chair, whose structural strength was gleaned from a repetitive and comprehensive compression of corrugated cardboard. Though VOUWWOW is made of the same stuff—and thereby has certain aesthetic similarities with Wiggle—it gains its structure from a different species of engineering: the golden ratio of the vaunted triangle.


Vouwwow also puts me in mind of Chris Rucker’s work with castoff plywood, not only because of the intelligent re-use of what is commonly construed as a “throwaway” product, but also because of the intimation of a new mode of urbanism. As with Rucker’s work, Vouwwow forges a new aesthetic—one that acknowledges the need for a new paradigm for all the stuff we produce and discard every day. With Vouwwow, the Dutch duo suggests that rather than simply throwing another box into the landfill or hauling it off to a nameless, faceless recycler, why not make a chair from it?!

Via Chairblog.

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