It's the perennial party dilemma: you're having guests over and running short on chairs. Now, imagine being able to pull a spare seat or two off your bookshelf. Of course, this is not your regular kind of chair, but one that looks like a book and unfolds to produce a three-dimensional support for a seat. That's the idea behind Bookniture, a compact, portable furniture design concept that blends an "advanced honeycomb paper structure with [the] traditional craft of book-binding."
Created by Hong Kong designer Mike Mak and USA-based design development house Plateaus, Bookniture looks very much like a regular book, thanks to its quality binding.
But when its elastic is unloosed, the book opens up full-circle into a strong, accordion-like structure that can hold up to many times its weight, due to the thickness of the moisture-resistant, American-made kraft paper used. Once a surface is placed on top, the open structure becomes a multifunctional piece of furniture, suitable as a stool, a side table, or stacked as a small desk.
Measuring 7" by 13" by 1.6" and opening up to 14 inches in diameter, and weighing 3.5 pounds, the Bookniture is a true master of disguise. Mak describes how his "eureka" moment came for envisioning this intelligent design that masquerades as a nondescript tome:
A few years ago attending a furniture fair, I was given a honeycomb board sample and was amazed by the strength and load capacity of this structure. This structure is widely used in the furniture industry composite boards for shelves and tables. I took this sample back as a decor on my bookcase...
I love having friends at my place, but have never had enough seats for everyone. My guests and I would always end up just sitting on the floor. I really wanted a kind of seat that doesn't take up any floor space when I don’t need it. Is that even possible? One day however, the empty space on my bookcase and the honeycomb sample caught my eyes. Then came the spark of a new idea: BOOKNITURE!
Admittedly, Bookniture looks like a knock-off of Molo's Soft Seating, which has the same kind of honeycombed paper material. But Bookniture's distinguishing edge is that it's marketed as furniture that is "hidden in a book," which is quite an original idea. Bookniture comes in two basic colours: black or brown, along with a variety of five different coloured felt tops that provide an extra bit of stability and comfort when using it as a stool or table surface.
No word on what kind of glues are used, so we're hoping that the designer has taken some steps to ensure that it's a product that will be fully biodegradable. One may be skeptical as to how much weight one of these papery furnishings might hold, but as their test video shows, one typical Bookniture unit can hold up to a whopping 375 pounds (170 kilograms). It's nothing to sneeze at, and it's a welcome boon for people with small spaces or an aversion to large, heavy pieces of furniture or ugly folding chairs.
Ephemeral but pragmatic, It's a clever concept that recently blasted through its initial $50,000 Kickstarter funding goal, having nearly reached $300,000 as of publication. There's still a few weeks left, those who are interested can check out Bookniture, their Facebook and Kickstarter campaign.