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Paper shelf showcases artist Willy Chong’s dual heritage, won’t crumble under pressure.

Artist Willy Chong has pushed the envelope to create a unique project inspired by his Chinese and Swedish roots: a shelf made entirely of laminated paper.

Combining the long history of Chinese print and papermaking with modern Swedish design, Chong’s “Paper” project cleverly synthesizes elements of both cultures. The laminated paper shelf has no structural support from wood, metal or plastic and is easy to construct and take apart. Each shelf is made up of laminated paper that has a number of tabs that then thread through notches in the paper frames. The shelves are secured into the frame by bending these tabs inward and creating the special folded “love handles” that lock into place.

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This surprisingly sturdy design can withstand the weight of about 10 pounds on a single shelf. But perhaps more provoking than its clean, innovative design is the emotional impact of this project that guided the artist.

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Rather than focusing on the differences between his Chinese and Swedish heritage, “Paper” is a synthesis of what these cultures have in common. As the art of paper and printing traveled from Asia on the Silk Road to Europe, it became possible to preserve knowledge and stories for new generations. Thus, Chong has found it fitting to create a shelf—something that archives and holds knowledge—out of paper, a material shared amongst cultures.

Willy Chong

[h/t] Fast Company

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