Who would have thought that cardboard would get any use other than making moving boxes or cathouses? This material is experiencing somewhat of an architectural renaissance.
To prove the versatility of this environmentally friendly material, Nudes, an Indian architecture studio, built an entire café in Mumbai using cardboard.
Except for the cardboard’s core, shell and services in the café have been made from cardboard. These include the walls, chairs, light fixtures, tables, and architectural elements. Check this café out next time you are in Mumbai if you need more proof.
In a Class of Its Own
Cardboard Café, which opened in April 2019, is an exceptional restaurant that only offers a gluten-free and vegan menu. Whereas there are other restaurants that offer a similar menu, this café is committed to providing an eco-friendly solution by any means possible. They’ve achieved this by designing every square foot of the restaurant using only cardboard.
However, since fire and cardboard don’t mix very well, you’ll find that the kitchen isn’t made of cardboard. You’d be entirely amazed if you walked into this restaurant made of cardboard. It took Nudes 14 months to design, plan, and build this architectural masterpiece.
Founded by Nuru Karim, the Indian architecture studio, Nudes, designed the cardboard café to show how versatile and hard-wearing a biodegradable material such as cardboard can be.
“Building with cardboard meant constant exploration and inquiry into material performance,” said Nudes.
Using sturdy stock, the designers crafted sinuous waves of corrugated cardboard that when layered next to each other look almost like hardwood.
Stacked layers of paper create the base of a chair, and a cantilevered table made of cardboard juts out from the wall.
The most stunning piece of cardboard wizardry comes in the form of undulating circular wall panels that give the restaurant a wave-like form.
An Inspiration to Others
This café has become an inspiration to others since it opened and has gained international fame. Architects from around the world are experimenting with cardboard. For instance, Californian firm Brooks + Scarpa lined the walls of Aesop’s Los Angeles store with recycled tubes.
Moreover, in Amsterdam, a design collective called Fission Factory has devised a modular housing system that uses interlocking pieces of cardboard to form a house frame that can be assembled in under 24-hours. Lastly, Japan-based architect, Shigeru Ban, created a cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, from cardboard in addition to a cabin for hikers and a pavilion at an architectural school in Madrid.
Social Media Impact
Now a viral story on social media, people are amazed that everything in the Cardboard Café is actually made from cardboard. Twitter user @kateo proclaimed after visiting the café, “It made an already-great get-together that much cooler.”
Another user, @thenamesnotnya, commented, “I need the cardboard café to put inside my café.”
For many café enthusiasts and environmentalists, the Cardboard Café is a success. While it may look unusual for many taking a meal on a cardboard box, remember you’re helping save the planet.