“The layers of paper appear like lines of a wood grain or the rings of a tree …”
The development of NewspaperWood starts in 2003 as the result of a research project by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Mieke Meijer. After partnering with Vij5 in 2007 and the presentation of the material in its infancy in 2011, the material underwent a long development process. We are proud to be one of the founders of NewspaperWood BV and still use the material for several products in the Vij5 collection.
How it all started
Every day, piles of newspapers are discarded and recycled into new paper. During her study at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2003, Mieke Meijer devised a solution to use this surplus of paper into a renewed material: NewspaperWood.
NewspaperWood shows a reversing of a traditional production process; not from wood to paper, but the other way around. When a NewspaperWood log is cut, the layers of paper appear like lines of a wood grain or the rings of a tree and therefore resembles the aesthetic of real wood.
Mieke and Vij5 (Arjan van Raadshooven & Anieke Branderhorst) first met in 2007. By discovering the NewspaperWood in Mieke’s portfolio, a collaboration between them originated quickly. After presenting NewspaperWood for the first time in 2008 at the Dutch Design Week Eindhoven (NL), Vij5 and Mieke continued developing the material and its production process.
First NewspaperWood collection
For the launch of the first product collection and the international presentation of the material, Mieke and Vij5 asked a group of talented Dutch designers to experiment with NewspaperWood within the collection of Vij5.
The main goal was to create a wide view and exploration over the possibilities such a new material had to offer. We aimed for embracing the experiment and creating an open character to the project as a whole to keep future possibilities open and within reach.
This divergent collection was successfully presented in Milan in April 2011. Since then the material NewspaperWood has been presented on various exhibitions and fairs in the Netherlands and abroad.
NewspaperWood does not aim to be a large scale alternative to wood, nor to use all paper waste into a new material. The main theme in the project is ‘upcycling’ with which we show how you can change a surplus of material into something more valuable by using it in another context.
Although printing techniques for newspapers are nowadays efficient enough to reduce the test prints and first unusable newspapers to a minimum, there still is enough material available. Next to that we use ‘yesterday’s newspaper’: the newspapers that are printed but not sold and will turn out to be old news the next day anyway .. a perfect local source for our basic material!
To actually upcycle the newspapers into our new wood-like material, we (temporarily) take the newspapers out of the already existing and efficient cycle of paper-recycling. We think it would be ideal to be able to bring our own waste material back into the circle again. Therefore we use a glue to construct the material which is free of solvents and plasticizers which would make it more difficult to recycle. With this it is not only possible to put our own sawing and sandpapering waste back into the circle, but also to bring the NewspaperWood products to the scrap yard for recycling, although we hope they will be cherished for a long time …
Due to the growing success of NewspaperWood, Vij5 and Studio Mieke Meijer nowadays join forces in a new separate company called NewspaperWood bv. This company is dedicated to the production and development of the NewspaperWood material in order to find new intermediate products and innovative applications.
You can have a look at our website for further information: www.newspaperwood.com
These NewspaperWood products are currently part of the Vij5 collection:
Some links of articles written about NewspaperWood around the time of the launch: