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Making your way with sustainable design

By Courtney Ingle | 27 September 2021

Cardboard boxes are everywhere. The growth of e-commerce and convenience of door-to-door delivery becoming fast, and cheap, means we have a free, ubiquitous and biodegradable resource in the humble cardboard. Even to purchase the raw product, cardboard is an ideal resource for sustainable design, due to its reuse potential and recyclability. In the process of developing sculptures for The Great and Grand Rumpus, we are utilising cardboard to step through the design process from prototype to fabrication.


Prototyping with cardboard is low-cost, and eliminates expensive and environmentally damaging waste. It is also pliable, therefore ideal to play with 3D techniques and textures, such as layering, laser cutting, bending, scrunch, folding, and so on. By creation of sample prototypes, it allows the designer to see, hold and test the form and functionality of the product. Further sketching, digital design and rapid prototyping can take place to develop and perfect, prior to creating a finished, fabricated item.

Man holding fluted cardboard gramophone horn.

A small cardboard sculpture, created at The Edge Fabrication Lab.

The ubiquity of cardboard also democratises access of idea development through the design process, to non-designers or fabricators. Through these citizen designers, participatory practice, and new media to share process, we have potential to design for change, renewal, inspiration, disruption and to solve ‘wicked problems’, rather than trend, aesthetic and styles (Resnick, 2016).

In developing The Great and Grand Rumpus, the community has co-created, and demonstrated the process of iterative design: using cardboard to prototype and fabricate, from humble beginnings and a small idea to create large sculptures and endless possibilities.

We are always interested in what you are making and designing, so be sure to pop in and see us, or tag your creations #slqmadetoday




Resnick, E  2016,  Developing citizen designers, Bloomsberry Publishing Plc, New York


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