PaperBricks: bricks and furniture made from old newspapers

Paper is one of the most produced and discarded materials in the world. But while it can easily be recycled, it cannot be reused indefinitely. The paper fibres become shorter over time and degrade. This causes the paper to lose its quality. In order to find a way to give newspapers a longer lifespan, designer WooJai Lee has combined papers and wood glue to make bricks, called PaperBricks, and furniture.

The idea came to him while taking out the trash, when he realised how much paper is thrown away, especially newspapers, after looked at only briefly.

To make the bricks, the newspapers are turned into pulp and combined with wood glue, before being pressed into the right shape. The PaperBricks are as sturdy as real bricks, having a marbled look. The texture is warm and soft like textile. The colour of the bricks depends on the colours of the papers that are used.

To give an example of how the bricks can be used, Lee applied the same method to create furniture, called PaperBrick Pallets. The series consists of two coffee tables, in blue and grey, and a light grey bench. As shown on one of the pictures, the bench is sturdy enough to support the weight of a full-grown man. Lee is nowhere near done with his project. In the future, he plans to add more pieces of furniture, as well as wall panels and room dividers, from the same material.

The furniture as well as the bricks are only suitable for interior use. The bricks can withstand some spillage, but are not entirely waterproof. Lee has not tested yet if the material is fireproof, but he is planning to develop this aspect further. The longevity has also not been tested yet.

Lee’s PaperBricks and Paperbrick Pallets will be on display during the Dutch Design Week (22 – 30 October).

Photos: WooJai Lee