Superlegible Furniture – Press Release


PLANT Introduces Superlegible Furniture at DX

As part of New Landscape: Design Transforms Canadian Furniture, an exhibition opening today at the Design Exchange, PLANT has created two prototype pieces of furniture using newspapers and other urban raw materials.

Close the City

With more of our waste kept around us in a closed system, the more aware we will be of the materials that we feel all too comfortable throwing out. We propose harvesting available discarded material, and treating it instead as raw material: the city is our “natural resource.”

Superlegible Furniture

These furniture prototypes are made from newspaper. We caught a ubiquitous, recyclable, and generally-viewed-as-trash material, midstream in its recycling life, and extended that life. When the furniture is spent, it can return to the grey box with simple disassembly.

We have explored the structural and aesthetic possibilities of newsprint – using it in multiples, and transforming the newspaper from an everyday reading object into a textured, cellular structure of typographic and image fragments contained within highly “polished” containers.

Design, Material, Fabrication and Assembly Concepts

Concept– Each piece of furniture is composed of a vessel filled with recycled newspaper as “cushion” and structure. Vessel materials include solid wood and vegetable-tanned leather – both renewable, if managed appropriately by ecologically-minded manufacturers.

Lifespan – The newspaper cushion is both changeable and replaceable, the frame and binding are intended to last. If the vessel reaches the end of its life, it can be easily knocked down and recycled.

Adhesives – Materials are glued with wheat cellulose wallpaper paste, and dyed with aniline dye, which are compatible with newsprint and allow it to remain within the domestic recycling loop.

Appropriate material usage – The rolls use as much air as possible in full newspaper sheets to achieve maximum efficiency and minimum waste. The newsprint is rolled in the direction of the grain.

Fabrication – The labour technique is simple – rolled, then glued like papier-mâché. Production could be a cottage industry, or rolling could be simply automated.


The seemingly insubstantial edge of the newspaper is used in compression to create a light, stiff and stable ensemble.

Newspaper Units: 700 rolls – 5/8″ outside diameter and 1/2″ inside diameter, single sheets of newspaper lightly glued = 6 weeks of The Globe and Mail (not including magazine TV-guide, nor book section).

Chaise Longue

Like a cushion, the stack of loose rolls has a spring-like resistance and adjusts to the body.

Newspaper Units: 1190 rolls (to average seat height) to 1400 rolls (if mounded) – 7/8″ outside diameter and 7/16″ inside diameter, four-sheet rolls of newspaper stacked on side = 35 to 40 weeks of The Globe and Mail (not including magazine, TV-guide, nor book section).

**Special Thanks to:

**Blackstock Leather
Gibson Greenwood (wood frame)
Edwards & Wilson Cabinetmakers Ltd. (frame finishing)
The Globe and Mail

Damzels in this Dress
Steven Evans
Gabhan Gibson
Bernice Iarocci
Merri Schwartz
Catherine Scott
Roy Schulze
Anne Tremain

Superlegible Furniture will be on display at Toronto’s Design Exchange as part of the exhibit New Landscape: Design Transforms Canadian Furniture. This is an exhibition celebrating the talent and vision shaping the Canadian furniture industry.

The exhibit opens 29 January 2002 and runs until 28 July 2002.

For more information contact PLANT or visit the DX website.

Come and see.