It’s no secret that needless waste and heaps of scraps are part of the equation in today’s textile and garment manufacturing process. Granted there are some amazing results in terms of cutting edge fashion and eye-catching furniture designs, but this often comes at a huge cost in terms of the throw-away elements. The Cabbage Chair by Japanese designers, Nendo, defies this trend by taking waste paper from the pleated fabric industry and turning it into an organic marvel. This gorgeous recycled textile waste chair was designed for the XXIst Century Man exhibition curated by Issey Miyake. It’s no coincidence (visually) that ‘Pleats Please‘ has found a new expression in this layered demonstration of waste as upcycled renewal.
The Cabbage Chair is created from a wrapped cylinder of pleated paper that is typically used to create the crisp, signature folds in Miyake’s garments. A roll of this by-product paper was slit vertically by Nendo’s designers, and a small nest of a chair was revealed by systematically peeling away each layer. Resins used during the original paper production process add strength and a bit of memory to the shaping process, while the pleats themselves give the chair elasticity and a springy cushioning.
Amazingly, the Cabbage Chair has absolutely no internal structure or framework, nor is it assembled with nails, screws, or additional textile elements. Reminiscent on some levels of Frank Gehry’s cardboard chairs, at least in terms of ‘layering as reinforcement’, this perhaps more free-form interpretation suggests rebirth as well as comfort derived from resourceful, shared, product life cycle designs. As Nendo has described, the Cabbage Chair fits (our) active, optimistic, and forward-moving ’21st century selves,’ the kind of people who, to borrow a concept Miyake expressed during a meeting with us, ‘don’t just wear clothes, but shed their skin’.
The XXIst Century Man exhibition curated by Issey Miyake, will be at 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo from 30 March to 6 July, 2008.