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When we think of wood and paper, we usually see it in this manner; wood=source, paper=result. What if we flipped the model and saw paper as the source and wood as the end product? This was the concept behind Mieke Meijer‘s project at the Design Academy Eindhoven. To think of paper as the end state of the product was limiting. With so much paper as the end result of making newspapers, Mieke envisioned an opportunity to upcycle the process and re-create wood.

Being a student, Mieke Meijer seeked the most practical way to re-create this and taking a stack of newspapers, he began glueing them one by one. By rolling it as tight as possible, it started to form through aggregation. This experiment proved to have some similarities to actual wood as it deformed and could be sandpapered. As most students do, the project got a grade and was left behind to begin a new one. It wasn’t until 4 years later in 2007 that Mieke met Arjan van Raadshooven and Anieke Branderhorst of designlabel Vij5, a Dutch designlabel with a collection of interior products characterized by their simplicity, ingenuity and the use of existing elements. As Arjan and Anieke are designers as well, they see the value in mentoring and assisting young designers to polish and see their initial concepts manufactured. Vij5 helps them implement the necessary processes to production, assembly and marketing as it is crucial in this era of globalization.

NewspaperWood was a laborious and time consuming process when it was first conceived. Their many brainstorming sessions, workshops and experiments, the team was able to find solutions to make this a viable marketed product. As a realized product, NewspaperWood is a series of layers a paper that appear like grains of wood or rings from a tree.This upcycling process gives new life to what some consider recyclable waste. This extends the life of paper therefore using less energy to change its state for new use. NewspaperWood is not a replacement to wood as a material, it is merely a new way to use paper and shape it to create new textures, forms, furniture and other products.

NewspaperWood was presented in Ventura Lambrate during Milan Design Week 2011 where they invited a team of young Dutch designers – rENs, Breg Hanssen, Greetje van Tiem, Ontwerpduo, Floris Hovers, Christian Kocx & Tessa Kuyvenhoven – to experiment with NewspaperWood for their first time. The same way they ventured into helping a young designer polish the initial idea, they gave the polished material back to the designers to see what they would come up with. Vij5’s exhibition in Ventura Lambrate was held in the decayed car garage named ‘Autofficina’ to add more character to this diverse and unique set of products using NewspaperWood.

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