Paper pulp with biopolymer; durable and waterresistant

by: Mirjam Visser, 2012-06-17 14:40:09 UTC
Sustainability Aspects: Using recycled material for short life product like kids chairs

Lightweight Parapu

The swedish Pulplab is researching how paper can be used in cases that non-paperlike properties are needed; shock absorbing, strong, durable, insulating, etc

In 2003 the Swedish research company STFI-Packforsk (now re-named to Innoventa) was involved in a project to find recyclable materials that could be fitted for car interiors. This resulted in the development of DuraPulp.

In autumn 2007, Mikael Lindström at STFI-Packforsk was contacted by a graduate student at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology Joakim Nygren. “Would it be possible to manufacture a fully functional chair from a single piece of pulp?” Joakim asked. Mikael believed it would. At last the new material could be put to a real test. If you could make a chair that answered all the demands placed on aesthetics, ergonomics and durability, you should be able to make pretty much anything.

Mårten Claesson, one of the founders of the Internationally renowned architect firm Claesson Koivisto Rune, invited Joakim to his office. Mårten tossed an egg carton of moulded pulp onto the table. “We want to make a chair out of this,” he said. Without the slightest clue on how to pull it off, Joakim answered without hesitation: “Sure.” The way he figured, the architects needed a completely new type of material in order to succeed and for that endeavour, they needed an engineer. And that’s how it started, the co-operation that would result in the paper chair later named Parupu.

The process of producing and testing the new material that was named DuraPulp was mainly done in two steps. The paper pulp and biopolymer mixture was blended and produced into sheets/rolls of paper. Then the composite material was activated by hot pressing it into different shapes. The development of the chair was based on different models that would determine different design aspects. The Paper Pulp Chair has two‐part structure that utilizes closed geometries, double shells and an inner stool for stability. The two parts are individually nesting, and are joined with corresponding flanges. The paper pulp is mixed with a biopolymer, which enhances the material properties.

Meet Parupu a childrens chair manufactured entirely from pulp and biopolymer, DuraPulp. It looks like paper and feels like paper. But all it takes to carry the weight of an adult is a thickness of a couple of millimetres. The chair won’t be damaged if you leave it outdoors. And if you spill a glass of water on it, the worst thing that can happen is the floor getting wet. Parupu means pulp in Japanese. The name was chosen as a tribute to a culture that constantly pushes the boundaries and expands horizons for paper pulp applications, from origami to paper bridges.

Designer: Claesson, Kolvisto, Rune, Joakim Nygren
Manufacturer: Soedra
Category: Recycled material


Parapu made of DuraPulp
Lightweight Parapu
Parapu made of DuraPulp
by Soedra Pulplab

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