Newspapers Recycled Into Paper Timber & Furniture by Mieke Meijer / Vij5

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Photos: Vij5 website

From do-it-yourself cat litter to hand-rolled jewelry beads and garden mulch, newspapers can offer versatile options for re-use after they've been read. From Dutch designer, Mieke Meijer comes what she calls "NewspaperWood," which can actually be made into furniture.

Made from recycled newspapers that are stacked, glued, rolled into logs, dried and cut, it looks and acts very much like real timber, from each log's unique grain pattern to the fact that it can be cut, milled, and sanded. After experimenting with the material as a student design project back in 2003, Meijer has now teamed up with other young designers from Dutch design firm Vij5 to create surprisingly functional and distinctive pieces of furniture from NewspaperWood.


In creating these prototypes, the young designers of Vij5 let it all hang loose, producing not only furniture but also jewelry and even lighting.

Playing on its newspaper origins, this open filing cabinet by designer rENs alludes to the newspaper's capacity as housing stories as well as displaying them -- thus the open format that simultaneously stores and exhibits what is placed inside.


With Breg Hanssen's cupboard, the emphasis was on the newspaper's wood-like patterns, in combination with a colourful rigid frame.


Greetje van Tiem's elegant contribution focuses on the patterns of the printed word and creates visually-striking drawer pulls for this console.


Defying expectations of the newspaper as a flimsy material, Tessa Kuyvenhoven combines NewspaperWood with real wood at the center of this sturdy, wood-turned side table.


Tongue-in-cheek but still eminently functional, Christian Kocx offers a clever lighting piece where this LED lamp is turned on by removing the rolled-up newspaper from its core. To turn it off, one inserts the newspaper back in.


Of course, there's the newspaper-inspired jewelry: rENs takes round nuggets of NewspaperWood and encircles them in brass, creating lovely and very wearable trinkets.


It's clear that newspapers don't have to be recycled into another paper product -- there's a lot of potential applications and possibilities with this versatile wood-like material.