NewspaperWood – Reinventing Old News

Every day, piles of news­papers are discarded and recycled into new paper creating a huge surplus of paper. During her study at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2003, Mieke Meijer devised a solution to use this surplus of paper into a renewed material: Newspa­perWood.

Newspaperwood photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood shows the reversal of a traditional pro­duction process;  but rather than creating paper from wood, this is the other way around. This process is actually coming full circle, returning the paper into its original form after it has been discarded. When a Newspa­perWood log is cut, the layers of paper appear like lines of a wood grain or the rings of a tree and therefore resembles the aesthetic of real wood. The material can be cut, milled, sanded and generally treated like any other type of wood.


Mieke and Vij5 (Arjan van Raadshooven & Anieke Branderhorst) first met in 2007. When Vij5 discovered NewspaperWood in Mieke’s portfolio, they were so impressed that they decided to collaborate almost immediately.

. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Mieke and Vij5 with NewspaperWood. Photo courtesy of Vij5

After presenting NewspaperWood for the first time in 2008 at the Dutch Design Week Eindhoven (NL), Vij5 and Mieke continued developing the material and its production processs. In addition, they invited a group of talented young Dutch designers to experiment with NewspaperWood to design their first product collection.

Close up of Newspaperwood tabloid coffee table. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Close up of NewspaperWood tabloid coffee table. Photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood Tabloid Table. Photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood Tabloid Table. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Vij5 emphasise that NewspaperWood does not aim to be a large scale alterna­tive to wood, nor does it seek to transform all paper waste into a new material. The central theme in the project is ‘upcycling’ with which they seek to show how you can change a surplus of material into something more valuable by using it in another context.

A log of NewspaperWood on the bandsaw. Photo courtesy of Vij5

A log of NewspaperWood on the bandsaw. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Although printing techniques for newspapers are nowadays efficient enough to reduce the test prints and first unusable newspapers to a minimum, there still is enough material available. Next to that ViJ5 use ‘yesterday’s newspaper’: the newspapers that are printed but not sold and will turn out to be old news the next day anyway.


NewspaperWood Sample Series. Photo courtesy of Vij5

To actually upcycle the news­papers into new wood-like material, Vij5 (temporarily) take the newspapers out of the already existing and efficient cycle of paper-recycling. Vij5 believe that it would be ideal to be able to bring their own waste material back into the circle again.

NewspaperWood Sample Series. Photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood Sample Series. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Therefore they use a glue to construct the material which is free of solvents and plasticizers, as these chemicals would make it more difficult to recycle. Using these environmentally friendly methods, it is not only possible to put any sawing and sandpaper­ing waste back into the circle, but also to make the Newspa­perWood easy to recycle.

A ‘Sheltered Island’ Made From Recycled Materials

Amsterdam-based design studio Social-Unit originally created a bed unit for homeless shelters, produced from recycled plastic bottle caps.

Amsterdam-based design studio Social-Unit originally created a bed unit for homeless shelters, produced from recycled plastic bottle caps. Photo courtesy of Social Unit/No.19 Greek Street.

The Amsterdam-based design studio Social-Unit originally created a bed unit for homeless shelters, produced from recycled plastic bottle caps.

Social Unit Bed No.19 Greek Street

Using recycled materials and the creative use of space they came up with this elegant design.

Social Unit Bed at No.19 Greek Street

The bed is specifically crafted to create a cosy “sheltered island” space in the middle of a large open-plan space.

Social Unit Bed at No.19 Greek Street

The structure gives a feeling of an individual ‘home’ almost like a small self contained cabin providing a safe personal space regardless of the room or surrounding environment.

Social Unit Bed at No.19 Greek Street

Photo courtesy of Social Unit/No.19 Greek Street.

The design has also been adapted and modified to become a luxurious residential bed complete with ample storage, a vanity table, a small desk, and electric outlets and lighting.

Walk the Plank: Salvage and the Sea

Walk The Plank are a design collective based in Sydney, Australia that specialise in furniture made from salvaged materials.

Founded in September 2011 by Mike Perry and Mark Rushton who wanted to create a casual and fun living environment while remaining sustainable and eco friendly.

Walk the Plank aim to act responsibly both socially and environmentally and try to use recycled materials wherever possible. All their new materials are purchased from a registered land owner and they strive to support their staff and their families helping them to develop their craft while respecting the environment.

The wood is salvaged from old fishing vessels found along the coastline of the Java Sea. The wood has been stripped back to it’s original form, allowing it to be exposed, showing beautiful markings from the bolts used to hold these shipping vessels together. Teak has been used throughout history to build boats in this region and salvaging this old building material represents a new beginning in the mindset of products manufactured in Indonesia.

Since the launch of their business the team at Walk The Plank have continued to support Trees4Trees, an organisation that gives back to local communities through education. Trees4Trees creates assets for these communities and initiates the planting of trees throughout the island of Java, Indonesia.

Working with communities and programmes on a ground level to create positive change provides a responsible platform to improve the life of those involved from beginning to end.

Walk The Plank is focused on building and designing interior products that stand the test of time with style. With their bohemian edge and rustic charm they strongly believe in the integrity of every product they make. They possess a strong understanding of international requirements and global trends and carefully consider the manufacture and design process from its foundations through until its final form.

Autumn in England

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year, the leaves cover the ground in all sorts of different colours making the forests and parks vibrant and beautiful. Here are some photos of the New Forest where the ground is covered in pink, green,  orange and brown.20121128-190447.jpg


Nahui Ollin – Unique Recycled Style

Nahui Ollin bags are made from recycled materials. Every bag is unique and is constructed from old sweet wrappers, newpapers, barcodes, magazines or bottle labels. Nahui Ollin is inspired by ancient South American traditions and mythology.

The bags are crafted using  ancient Mayan weaving techniques. It can take up to four thousand sweet wrappers and as long as four days for an individual artisan to make one bag.

Their unique process ensures that no two bags are the same and despite being made from paper wrappers and labels, they do stand the test of time and weather for tear-free, long-term durability.

Each bag is hand-made from around 1500 individual wrappers and follows a process of folding, weaving and sewing each one into place – sometimes taking up to three days to make. Being that the wrappers are put into place one at a time, each bag is produced in its own colour scheme and pattern, insuring that it is one-of-a-kind.

Although you may expect most Nahui Ollin bags to be colourful and cute, aimed more at young teenage girls than grown women, you’d be surprised at how diverse the range of bags are. There is a huge variety in shape, size and style of these unique bags, whether you are looking for an evening bag, a bag for grocery shopping or a smart bag to wear to the office.

Nahui Ollin is also the name given to a famous Mexican artist’s model Carmen Mondragon by Gerald Murillo (also known as Dr Atl) with whom she had an intense love affair. He named her after the symbol of Aztec renewal meaning “four movement” – the fifth and last epoch and the sun of earthquakes which will result in the extinction of the human race.

Carmen Mondragon also known as Nahui Ollin, this photo also shares a close resemblence to the Nahui Ollin logo.

“According to Mondragón’s own writings, Nahui Olin is a cosmogonic name that signifies the strength and the power of the movements that emit light, life and force.” The Fiery Spirit Of Carmen Mondragon

Nahui Ollin seek to remain ethical as well as sustainable in the production of their goods, ensuring they stick to Fair Trade and Sweatshop free practices in Mexico.

Their growing family of upcycling partners such as Tootsie, Disney, Hershey’s, pez, and Target has allowed them to create a cottage industry helping to support local artisans. The bags are a stylish alternative to the  handbags made by the big designers, they are ethical, sustainable  and you will be sure to have the only one of it’s kind as each bag is individual.

Reclaimed Furniture from LA: MFEO

MFEO is a love story between its founders, Van and Claribelle, and their shared love for great design, vintage objects and the growing desire to lead more sustainable lifestyles.

Industrial Grater pendant lights

Slatted Cyclone side table

The pair from Los Angeles seek to reduce the environmental impact of production by primarily using repurposed materials for their designs.

Slat & Dowel reclaimed coffee table

Stump & Pins coffee table

They have a great selection of coffee tables and side tales as well as repurposed lamps.

Skate Sconce wall lamp series

Factory Task lamp & sconce

London’s Recycled Furniture Revolution

Patchwork furniture series by London-based Norwegian designer Amy Hunting

Last week I found some planks on the street along with a little table and a wooden box. Being a quite resourceful person I picked them up, to the dismay of my flatmate. I argued that they were free and much too good to be left in the rain!

Ryan Frank's Strata line made from discarded office furniture

We buy items and we throw them away. We buy our lunch in a packet and coffee in a paper cup, how much are we spending on packaging? Is all that plastic even necessary? We want nice modern furniture on a budget, we go to IKEA. After moving house and dismantling the flat pack cupboard for the 3rd time it breaks and becomes unusable, we ask ourselves – was it really worth it?

”]The amount of perfectly good items people throw away is crazy. With the right skills you can take free material littered around London and create a work of art or a practical object. There are a growing number of recycled furniture makers in London and throughout the UK. This is allowing local craftsmen to put their skills to good use and create unique and high quality objects without the carbon footprint and at a lower cost. There are a range of different designers and sellers, ranging from quirky artistic pieces to classic and practical furniture made from reclaimed wood.

Green Tea reclaimed wood furniture