From paper to wood

Posted on 03 March 2016.

Three Dutch designers have created a material that mimics wood, made entirely from recycled newspapers.

NewspaperWood was invented in 2003 by the Dutch designer Mieke Meijer as part of a final studies project at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. The young student, who was thinking about recycling old newspapers, wanted to reverse the traditional paper making process: instead of making wood into paper pulp, she wanted to make newspaper into wood. In 2007, Mieke Meijer joined the Dutch design studio Vij5, with Arjan van Raadshooven and Anieke Branderhorst, to bring her idea to life. After several years of research, they managed to develop a solid, versatile upcycled material made entirely from newspaper waste that mimics wood.

Hundreds of newsprint sheets are superimposed, bonded around a tube using environmentally-friendly glue and then dried. They then form of large round logs which, when cut into planks, produce a surprising effect: NewspaperWood reveals the different layers of newspaper, evoking the poetry of a tree’s growth rings. It is reminiscent of the organic aesthetics seen in real wood. Sometimes used without being planed, sometimes applied in thin flexible layers, the material can be worked in just the same way as conventional wood.

Since it was invented, NewspaperWood has been used to make furniture, light fittings, utensils, jewelry... Unique creations that it gives a quirkily beautiful, even amazing look. For example New Hybrids, an origami-like chair and the Framed series of colored cupboards, which take their characteristic colors from the pages of national newspapers (such as the Financial Times). Today, Mieke, Arjan and Anieke are working together at the NewspaperWood BV studio, where they are experimenting with new manufacturing processes and coming up with amazing new NewspaperWood applications.