Kranthout ("newspaper wood" in Dutch) is a new product that has been developed by Mieke Meijer for design company vij5 (here is a [PDF] of their design). As the name suggests, this is 'wood' made from newspaper. The individual pages are rolled together using a specially developed machine to produce tabloid sized 'logs', which can then be milled into planks, drilled and sanded just as real wood might. Neatly, the kranthout also replicates the grain of wood, with streaks of text or color photographs revealed in the new planks when it is cut.
The designers are currently refining the kranthout design and working to develop further products from it. The relatively small size of the logs will probably limit its applications to a certain extent, but it is easy to imagine attractive pieces of furniture or other heirloom quality objects being made from it.
Large amounts of newspaper are recycled every day so the raw product for kranthout is both cheap and widely available. Additionally the product has also been developed with an eye on how it could be recycled at the end of its life. The glue that binds the sheets of newspaper together has been selected for its ability to be separated from the paper in an eventual recycling process.
The kranthout was exhibited as part of the Rematerializing the Future exhibition by Material Sense, which was part of Dutch Design Week.
Alison Killing is an architect and urbanist based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.