June 13, 2017

At J.C. Architecture’s Happier Cafe, Paper Furniture Gives Customers a Canvas

Sharing happiness is a worthwhile goal, as almost anyone would agree. And that was the idea behind opening a self-service café, operated on an honor system. Approached to design such a project in the Taiwan city of Taipei, Johnny Chiu responded with the idea of paper. What if we could make a space where you can be a child, happy to draw on everything? he thought. Why don’t we even create furniture out of paper? So that’s precisely what J.C. Architecture did—with about 12,000 linear feet on which customers can leave drawings or inspiring messages for whoever happens to drop in next.

J.C. Architecture uses rolls of brown paper to create furniture. Photography by Zach Hone.

Using rolls of brown paper thick and strong enough to resist dripping coffee mugs not to mention shuffling feet, he constructed a surprisingly graceful collection of nooks, tunnels, canopies, beds, and even a paper pup tent for romantic tête-à-têtes. The rolls can unfurl to reveal clean, new writing surfaces or wind back up to transport to different locations. (The lease for the current 4,300-square-foot space, in former military barracks, is temporary.

Paper canopy and bed by J.C. Architecture. Photography by Zach Hone.

According to Chiu, customers haven’t been shy about adding to the mélange: “After two weeks, it was like wow.” Words and pictures were everywhere.

Project Team: Nora Wang; Maria Isabel Lima.

> See more from the May 2017 issue of Interior Design

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