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cardboard chair

design challenge

In the 1960s, celebrated architect Frank Gehry started prototyping cardboard furniture after discovering piles of the material outside his office. Some of his prototypes would become part of his Easy Edges.


​Cardboard is a recycled material that is easily found. As a building material, it is easy to work with and proves strong and durable when manipulated with precision and care. It is an ideal material to build furniture prototypes.
Take some time to explore how designers have used cardboard to make furniture, then create an original chair design that you will build out.  


Use the following resources to explore cardboard furniture design. Think about how to design for style and comfort.


Structures and Architecture, Paulo J. da Sousa Cruz

Guerilla Furniture Design, Will Holman

Outside the Box: Cardboard Design Now, Michael Czerwinski

Cardboard Book, Narelle Yabuka

The Great Book of Cardboard Furniture, Kiki Carton


Cardboard Institute of Technology

MAKE: Working with Cardboard

Frank Geary: Easy Edges



DIY Cardboard Chairs



​Corrugated cardboard is a recycled material offering the creative mind great opportunities. Building functional cardboard furniture that is pleasing to the eye and comfortable to sit on is possible.
This challenge is designed to encourage excellence in design that integrates function, aesthetics, and ergonomics.  


When designing your cardboard chair, use the iterative process.
1. Design a prototype
Create a quick illustrated prototype of your chair design. Refer to designs you've found inspiration in. Refer to your available materials as needed.
2. Build  

Gather the necessary components, along with your illustrated chair design, and build a prototype of your chair. Test your chair by sitting in it, evaluate what occurred, fix the prototype. Retest and reevaluate what occurred many times until the chair functions consistently according to your intentions.
3. Analyze your prototype  

Test your prototype. Does it work? If not, determine where the problem is. Make changes and re-test.


When your cardboard chair design is just as you want it, invite others to come and take a seat.  

“Education has very little to do with explanation, it has to do with engagement, with falling in love with the material”

— Seymour Papert

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