After shopping online, I receive several packages that are enveloped in cardboard to avoid damage to the material inside. Though after receiving the package, I have no use for the said cardboard packaging and I discard it. However, German designer Illya Goldman Gubin has other plans as he has made a full-blown business out of cardboard boxes. At first glance, his Karton furniture collection looks like a sculptural installation at an art gallery but it is actually made from cardboard and meant for household usage.
Gubin made a stool, chair, bench, and table out of cardboard boxes strengthened with Epoxy resin and fiberglass. The designer poured Epoxy resin on the cardboard, added fiberglass to it, and sculpted these boxes. The result was a stunning furniture collection dubbed ‘Karton,’ which means cardboard in German.
The use of Epoxy resin and fiberglass is the core essential to provide the otherwise fragile cardboard material the strength to hold human weight. As a result, the material normally associated with packaging has turned into a sturdy domestic item.
Gubin, reflecting on the Karten furniture collection, states, “what we once carried, can now carry us.” He started working on the project in 2020. It took him years to perfect the art and now the collection is up for grabs at 1stDibs.
The process of repurposing cardboard into furniture reminds the designer of his childhood memories. “Our past relation with such ever-present material as cardboard now enters our present again,” he states. An amalgamation of resin and fiberglass brings to reality that which before only existed in his youthful imagination. “Past daydreams thrust into realities,” he concludes.