cardboard, crates + chairs as building materials

Tiffany Chu/Dwell

When we read that Centre Pompidou in Paris was offering a Cardboard Carton Workshop, we wanted to beam ourselves there, a la Star Trek, to see what more we could add to our overflowing file and minds about this wonderfully versatile material. We were stunned by a photo of  an archway made of cardboard sheets combined in layers and compressed; it flies in the face of the usual ways of building with cardboard, of using the flat sides as walls. It is the work of Tadashi Kawamata who is known for the spare structures he builds out of humble materials – pine boards, cardboard, packing materials, chairs –  in unlikely places. They seem impromptu (though they take a great deal of work and planning), and speak of temporariness and informality; they somehow question the spaces and structures we take for granted. Now wonder his workshop has lines around the block.

When we saw pictures of Kawamata’s art at the Pompidou’s site, we realized we had seen his work before and had a vivid unattributed memory of it: of beautiful, odd, slapped together-looking nests and houses perched high up in the ancient tress of Madison Square Park, in the center of New York City. They made us LOOK with wonder and, for a moment, imagine ourselves hiding out in one of them but we never stopped to find out who had made them. Now we know, and are inspired by a central theme of Kawamata’s art: “championing work in progress” as one arts writer put it.

Madison Square Park Conservancy

We curiously imagine ourselves living in all these strange spaces…

…as we think about this:

“Architecture has to be realized beyond the obligation. And sometimes it is illegal. At this place, we call it freedom.” –Tadashi Kawamata

Read a wonderful piece about Kawamata by Max Mulhern here. To get in deeper to his work, follow the links on the Projects page of his website.

via Dwell

Related posts: Andrea Zittel’s Investigative Living

Clipped-Together Shelving Pt.2: Cardboard Boxes

Couturier de Cardboard: Matthew Sporzynski

Halloween Inspiration: Cardboard Box as Empire State Building

Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules

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