The LeafBed is a modular cardboard bed designed for emergency and temporary housing. Produced locally, flat-packed, easy to assemble and 100% recyclable at the end of its life, the cardboard bed provides a solution for NGOs and governments post disaster. Currently most NGOs provide bulky and heavy camp beds, but the lightweight LeadBed cuts down on transportation and cost. So far, Leaf Supply, a design company dedicated to emergency solutions, has deployed and tested 100 beds in Niger and have reported successful results and satisfied users.
The bed is formed from modular cardboard boxes folded together and then laid side by side. To make the box, two intersecting cardboard strips fold together to form an accordion support system. Then a long piece wraps around the supports, and interlocking tabs hold the pieces together. More tabs connect multiple boxes together to form the beds. An adult needs 4 boxes for a bed, while a child needs 2 or 3. The boxes can also be used separately for stools, low tables or turned on their sides for large table. The beds are capable of supporting up to 300 kg even in high humidity. Comparatively, the common camp bed, can only support 125 kg and is not nearly as adaptable.
Made from standard cardboard, produced practically everywhere in the world, these beds can be produced locally as a way to support the economy. The cardboard can also be printed with logos of sponsors or the NGO who is leading the disaster relief. Leaf Supply expects the beds to cost between 15 and 20 euros delivered, and hopefully most of that money goes to the local manufacturer. If you’re like us wondering if sleeping on a cardboard bed is comfortable, Leaf Supply says they are “as comfortable as a camp bed.” Certainly not like sleeping on a feather bed, but better than a swift kick in the pants.
In December of 2010, Leaf Supply delivered 100 beds to people living in precarious and unstable housing conditions in Niamey, Niger. After 6 months, the company returned to see how the beds had faired and what the general consensus was. Results showed that 99% of the users still used the bed as a bed, were satisfied with them, and that amazingly, 85% of them remained undamaged. Although we’re still not sold on the use of cardboard as eco-friendly products, we do appreciate this low-cost and relatively low-impact solution for disaster relief.
Images ©Leaf Supply