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Recycling In Practice: Perkins + Will Finds New Life for Cardboard Tubes

Phase one view of the ‘tube wall’. Image Courtesy of Perkins + Will

In architectural offices, the cardboard tubes used in large-format rolls of paper seem to multiply at an alarming rate, populating every nook and cranny until they fill the rafters. The team at Perkins + Will Boston have invented a cheeky solution to stem cardboard tube proliferation in the form of a privacy screen that behaves simultaneously as a sound and visual barrier, and as a storage space. Composed of dozens of reclaimed cardboard tubes fitted into a CAD-mapped and cut plywood frame, the ‘wall’ provides ample opportunities for drawing storage, sunlight mitigation, and playful interaction without disrupting workflow.

Find out more about Perkins + Will’s solution to cardboard tube waste after the break

The tube wall abstracts wood bundles into a stylized divider. Image Courtesy of Perkins + Will

Inspired by the efficiency of chopped wood stacked for kindling, architects at Perkins + Will set about to minimize the space used by the cardboard tubes while preserving the minimalist aesthetic in the office. The porous wall abstracts the form of a bundle of wood into a stylized home for cardboard tubes, elegantly dividing the space while preserving the necessary functionality of architectural practice. “The length of the tubes and one’s position in relationship to the wall changes their perspective of the wall,” says the firm, adding that “from one perspective, the angle of the tubes blocks the light entirely, while from another angle, the same tube opens up light from behind.”

Phase one perspective rendering. Image Courtesy of Perkins + Will

The beauty of the wall is in its simplicity: hung by nearly-invisible steel cables, two panels of digitally mapped and cut plywood are held together by slender supporting rods, and completed by recycled tubes of all lengths and sizes. Here, cardboard tubes from a diversity of uses – printing, construction, drafting, and more – find new uses as aesthetically pleasing and surprisingly functional office furniture. The tubes have truly come full circle, from a component of architectural production to an element of architectural design.

Courtesy of Perkins + Will
Implementation plan . Image Courtesy of Perkins + Will

Now installed in phase one, Perkins + Will plans to expand the wall into a second phase, with possibility for more in the bustling practice. In the Boston office, the first iteration of the tube wall divides working space from the kitchen, providing much needed sound and relief in the open concept space. Potential for the temporary tube wall exists beyond architectural offices, with implementation opportunities in retail, academic and residential spaces as a functional sculpture, shading device, and recycling tool.

Phase one installed. Image Courtesy of Perkins + Will

Cite: MacLeod, Finn. "Recycling In Practice: Perkins + Will Finds New Life for Cardboard Tubes" 24 Dec 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=580986>
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