Cardboard is a humble, accessible material that modern designers have turned to for decades in order to solve problems elegantly and affordably. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, whose work is represented in MoMA’s collection, is renowned for his use of recycled cardboard tubes to house disaster victims. Before him, the midcentury icon Riki Watanabe pioneered the concept of cardboard seating in 1966 with his Riki Stool. It is in this context that we meet Bookniture, Mike Mak’s multifunctional origami stool. Mak uses cardboard to create space in small homes — and add an element of surprise when the furniture is quickly unfolded from a book tucked neatly on a shelf.
This versatile, lightweight, and uniquely beautiful furniture has a patent pending origami structure that can hold a half-ton of weight (literally), yet folds into a book when not in use. Like many urban dwellers, Hong Kong-based designer Mike Mak wished that he could have friends over in his small apartment without them having to sit on the floor. He needed extremely compact extra seats that took up no storage space and were easy to pull out and use. One day, when he placed a honeycomb cardboard sample in an empty space in his bookshelf, the idea of Bookniture came to him. It can be used as a seat, side table, bench (place two Booknitures side by side with a board on top) and stacked shelving. Includes a double-sided felt seat pad.