Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A Swiss publisher is trying to attract a paying audience with an app sampling stories across publications
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.
A Swiss publisher is trying to attract a paying audience with an app sampling stories across publications
Tamedia’s 12-App collects the 12 best stories each day from the company’s 20-plus publications.
What does it take to be a “full-service” digital journalism organization? Ask Discourse Media
“We’ve gone down lots of experimental rabbit holes.”
Spain’s Eldiario.es has 18,000 paying members, and its eye on the next several million
“We have a potential of six million readers. You may not convince all six million people to be your socios, but if you learn more about their interests, you can get closer.”
What to read next
0
tweets
Hoping to redefine “trade publication,” Digiday launches Glossy, a vertical to cover disruption in fashion
“I hate the term ‘trade publication,’ because it implies being a boring cheerleader for the industry.”
0Chasing subscriptions over scale, The Athletic wants to turn local sports fandom into a sustainable business — starting in Chicago
“It’s very easy today to be click-driven and produce articles that don’t have a lot of substance or depth and don’t cost that much to produce, but that dynamic is disappointing for fans who want higher-quality content.”
0A year in at Vox, Recode looks at its future: Video, distributed content, more podcasts, and no /
“There’s a huge opportunity to be a widely read, digitally native business site that uses tech as our lens, and I don’t think that’s out there.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
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 ➚
OpenFile
News Corp
The Weekly Standard
The Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News
San Diego News Network
Craigslist
Backfence
MediaBugs
Ushahidi
The Seattle Times
Newsmax
Newser