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Circulair Warenhuis www.circulairwarenhuis.nl

Circular Department Store – Chipboard

By 15-01-2021

New roads to reuse
With an annual collection of 2.8 million kg of goods, Foundation Kringloopbedrijf Het Warenhuis in Leiden is one of the largest in the Netherlands. Designers Jurgen Bey, Nienke Hoogvliet, Max Lipsey and Fraser McPhee are invited to investigate one of the waste streams that are not sold or recycled. Their product will be produced in the social workshops of the recycling company. Today we show the design of Fraser McPhee.

Fraser McPhee
Fraser McPhee is a Scottish industrial designer based in Eindhoven. As the starting point for the Circular Department Store Fraser has by now chosen for chipboard, the sheet material of sawdust and binder from which about 80 percent of all furniture is nowadays made. Once conceived to combat the waste of wood in sawmills, the chipboard furniture nowadays appears to be difficult to reuse. Unfortunately, the largest part of these pieces of furniture is disposed of immediately at the recycling company. Fraser focuses on finding a new way of working with this material, which he describes as ‘hybrid’ wood. He asks himself how this cheaply produced and not too solid material can be preserved and given a new life.

Fraser developed a modular system in which chipboard can be used such as a cabinet, table or sofa. By sawing up, stacking and coloring the chipboard, an abstract, solid material with an almost stony appearance is created. The minimalist furniture that he thus came up with is made up of interchangeable standard elements. The construction  makes it possible to expand or exchange furniture over time by buying elements or returning them to the Circular Department Store. In this way, the material can also get a third or even a fourth life.


Photos: Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk, Julia Lefeber