It’s just in the prototype stage now, but Casulo Design has designed a dorm-room type furniture suite that comes in a 3’x4′ box. The suite includes a wardrobe with hanging space and drawers, a bookshelf, a twin bed, 2 ottoman/storage boxes, and a desk with file cabinet and stool.
The video below shows 2 people setting up the entire thing in less than 3 minutes. Beat that, Ikea!
This prototype shows what can be accomplished with a little forethought and practice. Everything can be set up and broken down into its own crate, which is used as a piece of the wardrobe in practice. This eliminates all packaging, and also eliminates any storage issues for the transient-types who would use this. If these sets were built in an eco-friendly way, they can ultimately be a replacement for “disposable” dorm and apartment furniture that people buy today. But almost more important than the environmental aspects are the humanitarian ones. Think of any natural disaster you want. Hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, or whatever. If the federal government had a stockpile of these crates on hand (and FEMA could actually figure out how to distribute them without screwing it up…) they could have families up and running in temporary housing much faster. As displaced people find permanent housing, they can be packed back up and reused again and again. Unlike the thousands of cardboard boxes and military cots that were needlessly sent to landfills after Hurricane Katrina.
We need more thinking like this. If we each do a little, we can all do a lot.