If you think paper is too flimsy to build furniture with, prepare to have your mind blown by molo design's brilliant paper constructions. Made from 100% recyclable natural kraft paper with 50% recycled fiber, these foldable and modular furnishings are constructed with a tight honeycomb form that gives the structures high stiffness and compression strength to withstand heavy weights. As long-time fans of molo, we were delighted to find them at Greenbuild 2015 where they not only created their own pop-up booth, but also designed customized booths for Dwell, Arup, and the Expo rest area.
Founded by Canadian architects Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen, molo studio showcased their ‘soft collection,’ a line of honeycomb paper furnishings, at Greenbuild 2015. The flat-pack structures expand like an accordion and flex to create sculptural partition walls, seating, tables, lighting, and even storage units. Made mostly of air, the honeycomb geometry allows the space-saving lightweight units to expand from a thickness of less than two inches to over 15 feet in length. Magnetic end panels snap together to connect multiple elements or to hold together a circular form. When not in use, the furnishings fold away into a compact unit that’s no wider than the thickness of a textbook.
Most of soft collection’s adaptable furnishings are made from 100% recyclable, fire-retardant kraft paper, half of which is made from post-consumer recycled fiber. For a waterproof and UV-resistant option, the designers crafted furnishings from 100% recyclable polyethylene non-woven textiles, called Tyvek©, that can be cleaned with a rag and soap. All other added materials, such as fire retardant, adhesive, and ink, are non-toxic.
Co-founder Stephanie Forsythe demonstrated the soft collections’ myriad uses at the Greenbuild molo booth, an interactive showcase that quickly became our and many attendees’ favorite space at the Expo. Framed on two sides by an earthy brown kraft paper softwall, molo’s pop-up booth captured the feel of a cozy living room furnished with hanging white lights, a table surrounded by stools, and a storage closet with wool handles in the rear. Thick 100% wool cushions topped the seats for comfort. Forsythe also brought two partitions—one made of white polyethylene and the other dyed black from UV-resistant bamboo charcoal ink—to demonstrate how quickly and easily the walls can be expanded, shaped, and then recompressed to a space-saving size.
Molo’s creations could also be spotted at Dwell’s booth, where the sturdy wall partitions were customized to support a flat-screen TV, large glossy display boards, and magazines. Architecture firm ARUP stacked and expanded different colored ‘softblocks’ for an eye-catching and undulating appearance. The Greenbuild rest area featured two curving molo benchwalls that frame a large circular table, offering the perfect respite from the bustling expo floor. Molo has popped up in many more places than just Greenbuild—the innovative structures have been used in restaurants, shops, homes, offices, and have even been tested as indoor emergency shelters. We can’t wait to see what molo comes up with the next!
Images © Lucy Wang