Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

 

 
Paper Furniture
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of paper furniture. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

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'Manuel Pratique de Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel' by J F Jacobs, which was published in Brussells and Paris in 1859 contains mention of two designs, 'La garde-robe' and 'Le compteur' which are probably pieces of furniture, Unfortunately, lacking illustrations, they cannot be identified with any certainty.

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The Table - 1859

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'De Kleine Papierwerkers', which was written by Elise Van Calcar and published by K H Schadd in Amsterdam in 1863 contains pictures of two designs, identified as 'De bank', which looks like a sofa but from the name is presumably intended to be a counter and 'Het swavelbakje' (the swivel tray) - which looks like a lidded box. I have not able to find these designs elsewhere.

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The Chair - 1876 onwards

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The Sofa - 1882 onwards

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The last ever issue of the Catalan satirical magazine 'La Campana Catalana', published in Barcelona on 29th April 1908, contains a cartoon by Apeles Mestres which pictures a variety of paperfolding designs, including a Sofa of otherwise unknown design. (Although see entry for 1863 above.)

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A design for a table made from a windmill base appears in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was first published in Japan in 1931.

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Another 'Table' appears in 'Paper Toy Making' by Margaret Campbell, which was first published by Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd in London, probably in 1937, although both the Foreword and Preface are dated 1936, which argues that the book was complete at that date.

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The Chair - 1939

'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939, contains a design for a chair which is an adaptation of the Sofa.

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The same book also contains a multiple-piece design for 'La cama' (The Bed).

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In 'The Art of Chinese Paper folding for Young and Old' by Maying Soong, which was published by Harcourt Brace and Company of New York in 1948, the Cross is developed into a simple Footstall and Chair.

Footstall

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Chair

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The same book also contains diagrams for a much more sophisticated table and for a Three Piece Living Room Set consisting of a Sofa and a Single Sofa.

Table

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Three Piece Living Room Set

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