Corrugated cardboard furniture is in growing demand
Tokyo-based online store Dumboo.com offers Japanese shoppers more than 60 kinds of cardboard furniture, including tables and shelves. Furniture designer Chappy Okamoto launched the service based on his experience of producing a cardboard desk for his own child in 2002.
Okamoto’s office in the city of Nara contains tables and chairs made of corrugated cardboard. There is also a book cabinet, nearly 2 meters tall, that was made 10 years ago.
Using reinforced cardboard, the furniture is strong and safe. Available at prices from just over 4,000 yen to tens of thousands of yen, cardboard furniture is particularly popular among those allergic to chemical substances as well as elderly people.
Steel Inc. – From producing metal accessories to designing furniture made of old cardboard
Steel Inc., a Tokyo-based design company and also producer of small metal accessories, sells a folding cardboard chair for 4,830 yen under the name of Parcel. The small, backless chair features a soft seat unique to cardboard.
The Parcel was developed by Takeshi Endo, chief executive of Steel, about 10 years ago. After a break in marketing, the company resumed selling the chair in the fall of 2011 and was surprised by a flood of orders, including those from elderly people attending Buddhist memorial services and players of musical instruments.
In Tennoji Ward in the city of Osaka, Cafe Danbouru, a small restaurant operated by packaging material maker Yanosiki Co., uses nothing but cardboard furniture including lamp shades hanging from the ceiling.
Furniture made from corrugated cardboard attracts consumers who are concerned about the environment and problems of the today’s society
Yanosiki, which employs many physically disabled workers, began producing cardboard furniture for use by them and the aged in 2005 and opened the cafe, adjacent to its plant, in 2008 as a place where people can actually utilize the furniture.
“Cardboard can be readily processed in detail as requested by the customer,” says Kiyoshi Shimazu, a Yanosiki designer.
Cardboard furniture is also drawing attention because of its easy installation in temporary housing units erected after a natural disaster or in the case of moving house. In addition, consumers are growing more discriminatory about furniture, adding fuel to demand for personalized products.