:: Specific Design Brief
CARDBOARD STRUCTURES - further information
PRODUCT DESIGN UK
Reducing weight: cardboard structures
good example of the structural use of cardboard is the cardboard school in
Suffolk, designed by the architect, Shigeru Ban. In considering the possibility
of using cardboard as a material for your project you might like to investigate
this project, and also some of the websites indicated in the table below.
We think of cardboard as a packaging material, but how else can we use
Commercial suppliers of cardboard products
Click on products for range of items and costs
Swedish company specialising in toys and furniture made of cardboard
How has cardboard been used in the construction of buildings?
Information about the Essex school made from cardboard
www.cardboardschool.co.uk/content/index3.htm and then download
the pdf entitled Design Guide (715 kb)
For information about the engineers see
For information about the Japanese architect enter Shigeru Ban into a search
engine for an array of articles / summaries about his work
Read about Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic cardboard dome (NB scroll down page
for details of the Milan Triennale exhibition)
Who might benefit from cardboard structures?
Consider the plight of refugees needing quickly constructed, cheap housing:
www.unhcr.org The site on the United Nations High Commission for
Think about those who already use cardboard as a makeshift shelter:
www.shelter.org.uk The website of the charity for homeless people
Are there any other possible uses for cardboard?
Read about the Great Cardboard Boat Race and see
www.gcbr.com/tips.html for advice on
building water-proof boats
of the design issues that the design must address
There are numerous structures around every home and office that carry
significant loads. However if we consider a chair as an example:
the way the weight of the body is supported by the chair as a structure.would
need to be understood.
• cardboard sections capable of carrying the appropriate ‘body’ loads would need
to be developed and tested
• appropriate finishing methods would need to be found
• methods of assembly which minimise the introduction of new materials and
components, and avoid adhesives where possible, would need to be investigated
• visual issues associated with the use of cardboard would need to be carefully
• the design must be suitable for manufacture in the UK
• the styling must be appropriate for the selected UK market
• the cost must be appropriate for the selected UK market
• the product packaging must be minimised and, perhaps, eliminated
They show typical flat-packed furniture and its associated packaging, often
cardboard and a cardboard wine carrier. The use of significant quantities of
materials and the associated weight is evident from the first photograph. The
wine carrier indicates the kind of loads that cardboard can carry. “Is all that
weight necessary?” is the starting point for students.
the 1930s R Buckminster Fuller – an early environmental campaigner – used the
phrase “Doing more with less” to make the point, and this idea lies at the heart
of this project.
They can be used as an introduction to the open-ended brief “Reduce, Reuse,
Recycle”. or the specific recycling design context on ” Reducing weight: