‘hanji-plastic chair’ by maezm design group all images courtesy of maezm

korean design group maezm has conducted an experiment which explores the possibilities of hanji, a traditional paper substance, in a modern setting. based off their research and development, they have created an alternative material that has the qualities of plastic without being toxic. the handmade porous paper is used in korean architecture for its thermal properties and ability to control moisture. it is made from the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree which is know as ‘dak’. working together with artisans, the studio has come up with a mix that uses the same fiber to create the plastic. 

‘dak’, the base ingredient of the material, is mixed with prepared hanji and glutinous rice paste glue and placed into a mold just like any common plastic product. once extracted, it is further strengthened with another layer of hanji. the only hardener used is flour. to give it a nice finish, it is coated with a korean lacquer made from the sumac plant.

to put their idea to the test, the group created ‘hanji-plastic chair’ to showcase the abilities of the process. maezm has sent us images of the seating object, which once complete, the is 7-8 mm thick, and more durable than if it were made out of ordinary plastic. the aim is not only to replace the toxic processed plastics often found in products today, but to get people to start thinking about traditional materials with a modern perspective. 

maezm: hanji plastic chair chairs made of organic materials with no toxins 

maezm: hanji plastic chair detail of texture

maezm: hanji plastic chair examples showing strength of material

maezm: hanji plastic chair computer model  

maezm: hanji plastic chair mulberry tree fiber or dak

maezm: hanji plastic chair process of making hanji

maezm: hanji plastic chair traditional use of hanji paper