PaperConnect's furniture is light and yet sturdy. PHOTO: YEN MING JIIN

If you’ve paid a visit to Changi Airport Terminal 3 recently, you would have seen Europe rebuilt in cardboard. Discover Europe is an exhibition of cardboard replicas of European landmarks including those from Berlin, Moscow and Prague – it's the work of Paper Carpenter, a company which creates 3D sculptures out of cardboard. Founder Adrian Chua believes that anything can be built with cardboard, and that includes your own furniture.

Mr Chua recently launched his PaperConnect collection, which uses hollow cardboard bars to create shelves, coffee tables and chairs. Each bar measures 48mm by 48mm by 2.3m in length, and costs S$12. They can be cut to length without any fancy equipment. "Even a S$2 saw from Daiso can do the job," he quips. The bars are treated to make them water-resistant and fire-retardant. Mr Chua also developed a collection of 3D printed plastic joints, each also priced at S$12 to connect the bars.

"Anyone can be a carpenter," he says. "They can play around with the pieces, like Lego."

Adrian Chua uses cardboard to build sculpture and furniture. PHOTO: YEN MING JIIN

The furniture pieces are light and easy to carry around. Mr Chua reassures that they can withstand the weight of an adult. In fact, he uses these same cardboard bars to build pellets which can withstand the weight of two tonnes.

A customer told him recently that she planned to use the bars to create shelving for her bomb shelter. "She didn't like the ones that traditional carpenters can offer, and Ikea didn't have the designs that she wanted," he explains.

Customers have to cut and assemble the pieces themselves now, but Mr Chua hopes to introduce ready-cut pieces by this year. He will soon launch a PaperConnect website, and customers can choose the design of the pieces they want.

For now the pieces are more suited for indoors, than the outdoors. But Mr Chua plans to introduce a new range of cardboard bars that will be coated with a waterproof material. And when you tire of the pieces, or when they have worn out, the cardboard furniture can easily be disposed of at the recycling bins.

A version of this story was first published on The Business Times. Click here to read the original story.