« Tap to Next Article »

Design Inspiration: Plywood

The lowly building material goes high design.

Zmianatematu cafe by XM3 Studio. Photo: XM3 Studio.
Zmianatematu cafe by XM3 Studio. Photo: XM3 Studio.

Tim Gunn might say, "it's a lot of look." And it is, of course, to line your apartment in plywood or build a floating cabin in your living room. But it's certainly a bold design statement, and right about now—in the giant slush puddle, lion end of March—this coffee shop in Poland (above), and retail spaces  in Tokyo and New York (below) are striking a perfect balance of cabin-like coziness and ultra-modern cool. 

Okomeya rice shop by Schemata Architecture. Photo: Kenta Hasegawa for Schemata Architecture; Feit store by Jordana Maisie, and Tull and Josh Price. Photo: courtesy Feit.
Okomeya rice shop by Schemata Architecture. Photo: Kenta Hasegawa for Schemata Architecture; Feit store by Jordana Maisie, and Tull and Josh Price. Photo: courtesy Feit.

DIYers like ourselves often think of this unshowy material and its composite cousin particle board as the base of many a great project (upholstered headboards, homemade valances), but plywood can also look completely fresh when left well enough alone. The typically minuscule Tokyo apartment below walks the line between playhouse and birdhouse, with a peak-roofed canopy bed and cute circular cut-outs, creating a house within a house.

An Airbnb rental in Tokyo's Shibuya neighborhood. Photo: LP for Airbnb.
An Airbnb rental in Tokyo's Shibuya neighborhood. Photo: LP for Airbnb.

Of course, plywood has been a hit in smaller doses for decades thanks to designers like Charles and Ray Eames and manufacturers like Herman Miller. If you're not ready to commit to all-plywood-everything, here are a few cool pieces for a little bit of the woodsy look:

Clockwise from top left: Papoula pendant lights: $146.43, Sean Lamps; Eames molded plywood dining chair: from $869, DWR; Stockholm mirror: $99, Ikea; Plywood pencil tray; $35, OneFortyThree; Plywood chair: $91.89, Kesselhaus; Faunascape Plywood Fox: $120, Clic General Store.
Clockwise from top left: Papoula pendant lights: $146.43, Sean Lamps; Eames molded plywood dining chair: from $869, DWR; Stockholm mirror: $99, Ikea; Plywood pencil tray; $35, OneFortyThree; Plywood chair: $91.89, Kesselhaus; Faunascape Plywood Fox: $120, Clic General Store.

PREV NEXT