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Designer Spotlight: Giles Miller's Farm Designs

As a material, corrugated cardboard has comes a long way in the sustainable design world. From its humble roots as moving boxes and the like, it has blossomed into something that can have form, structure and function in our daily lives. We love it because it’s often recycled, highly recyclable, and goes from two dimensions (great for flat-packing and reducing shipping costs and volume) to three dimensions faster than you can say “corrugated”. When it comes to getting the most out of the material, few are better at it than Giles Miller [www.farmdesigns.co.uk].

The UK-based designer has wowed us with a handful of breathtaking designs that leave us scratching our heads, saying, “Is that really just cardboard?” His cardboard laptop case (pictured above) is crafted from 100% recycled (and recyclable, should you need it) cardboard, and the fluting gives the wearer an option to get personal with it by customizing the design with an initial (or brand, as pictured). It might not be terribly practical during the rainy seasons, but it sure is cool.

Miller also has done some pretty slick-looking furniture from cardboard as well. Using a technique he calls “fluting” (also used on the laptop cases), he alternates the angles in the corrugation of the cardboard so that it produces different shading and decorative patterns. The surfaces have texture and depth, and almost look like flocked wallpaper. Perhaps more than any design, this one defies the preconceived notions of what something like cardboard “can be” and really pushes the design to a new level.

As if that weren’t enough, he’s still pushing the envelope with “Exbox,” the chair pictured above, right (a side table to go with the original “Flute” table is on the left). Though its structure is still just cardboard, it’s designed in such a way so that it bears a load and you can actually use it for what it was intended. As with many of Miller’s designs, they might not replace every furnishing in your home (though that would be pretty interesting), but they help furthering the idea that flat cardboard can be built into structural, beautiful, useful 3-D designs. And the more we can change (and green) the paradigm about what can and can’t be used for building and furnishing materials, the better off we’ll all be. Check out more of Miller’s designs below and learn more about the wonderful world of cardboard at his website [www.farmdesigns.co.uk].