HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The New Inquiry: Not another New York literary magazine
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
July 2, 2012, 1:18 p.m.
Aggregation & Discovery
newspaper-wood

From wood to newspapers and back again, designers upcycle yesterday’s news

Dutch designers turn newspapers into desks, lamps, and other objects.

Newspaper wood

Day-old newspapers can line a birdcage or wrap a trout just fine, but a group of Dutch designers is finding a more lasting way to recycle yesterday’s headlines.

“We upcycle,” NewspaperWood co-developer Arjan van Raadshooven told me. “We use something that loses value the next day to temporarily make something else.”

Van Raadshooven and fellow designer/developer Anieke Branderhorst explain that they turn old papers — often unsold misprints still in 50-paper stacks — into logs of wood, which are then used to make desks, jewelry, cabinets, chairs, lamps and anything else they might think up. Prices range from €85 ($107) for a small pendant to €4,520 ($5,694) for a desk. A reading lamp will run you €389 ($490), and a display cabinet is €2,570 ($3,237).

The concept originated with Mieke Meijer, who one day took a roller to some newspapers and glued them together. She added more glue and more papers, spending hours a day on the process, until she ended up with a log. Van Raadshooven and Branderhorst licensed and developed NewspaperWood through their design firm, Vij5. Logs are now produced by machine.

“We do not make square blocks, we make round tree logs,” Van Raadshooven said. “And if we cut it or sandpaper it, you start to see the layers. It’s interesting that sometimes you see letters or a text or words. It’s not that you can completely read it but it shows that there’s a history in the material.”

Van Raadshooven said it takes a few hours to produce each log, and that they are hard as regular wood, only with “some vulnerable points” due to the layering in production.

“If you do not lacquer it, and you sandpaper it, you really feel the paper fiber in the surface,” Van Raadshooven said. “It has a suede feel, which is really nice. It’s a live material just as wood is. If you ever have piece of oak wood it becomes yellow over time. If you have a newspaper and you leave it in the window for a few days, it also becomes a little bit yellow. We do not try to prevent that, we try to use it.”

Designers also make a point of preserving the newspaper aesthetic within the finished products. Necklaces strung with NewspaperWood pendants are framed with brass engraved with the date of publication. As cabinets and desks made of NewspaperWood age, they also warp, sometimes revealing bits of text or ink color previously unseen.

“You can see the origin of the material in some surprising parts,” Branderhorst said. “Sometimes just a little piece pops up, and a really beautiful part becomes visible. Even small mistakes can project a really nice part of the newspaper. It’s not really predicitable.”

Perhaps that’s fitting: Unpredictability also captures the spirit of the industry at this particular moment in its history.

“We are sort of documenting the newspapers that are here now, something that is probably going to disappear,” Branderhorst said. “It’s a nice thing that we sort of laid still this piece in time. It freezes it for a moment.”

POSTED     July 2, 2012, 1:18 p.m.
SEE MORE ON Aggregation & Discovery
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The New Inquiry: Not another New York literary magazine
For New Inquiry publisher Rachel Rosenfelt, building cultural significance was easy — building a sustainable business is the hard part.
iOS 8: How 5 news orgs have updated their apps for Apple’s new operating system
ABC, the AP, Breaking News, The Guardian, and The New York Times have all updated apps (or introduced new ones) to take advantage of new features on iOS 8.
How the new Wall Street Journal iPad app is taking advantage of new features in iOS 8
The app, released with the operating system today, has more functionality in notifications and lets users continue reading articles across Apple devices.
What to read next
753
tweets
How a Norwegian public radio station is using Snapchat to connect young listeners with news
“A lot of people check their phones before they get out of the bed in the morning, and they check social media before the news sites.”
727When it comes to chasing clicks, journalists say one thing but feel pressure to do another
Newsroom ethnographer Angèle Christin studied digital publications in France and the U.S. in order to compare how performance metrics influence culture.
710Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news
“The audience wants to go faster. This can’t be solved with responsive design; it demands an original approach, certainly at the start.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Daily Telegraph
Honolulu Civil Beat
New West
Medium
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Los Angeles Times
Backfence
Outside.in
MediaNews Group
California Watch
U.S. News & World Report