Art in the Box

The creative dynamics of corrugated cardboard


Most people give little thought to corrugated cardboard that in turn, makes cardboard boxes, providing a protective structure for everyday supplies or more delicate wares.  Starting with a simple pine tree, the transformation is fascinating to watch.  Any creative venture that begins with a raw, natural source, and then made into a strong and functional product, earns the honor of being called a magnificent work of art. The intuition is uncanny, and the evolution, remarkable.

corrugated cardboard sheet     Corrugated cardboard sheets are big business.  Leading the pack, with 47 years of experience, is Corrugated Supplies Company (CSC).  Based in Bedford Park, Illinois, their name has become one of quality recognition in performance and technology. 2005 brought opportunity to CSC with the expansion of a second plant, located in New Haven, Indiana.  Six years later, in 2011, a third plant burst into life, in Cullman, Alabama. 

     High-precision machine lines take different grades of paper and mold into perfect corrugated form, engineered for stability. With the assistance of high-pressure steam, pressure and starch-based adhesive, no less than a scientific measure of balance is used.  Software that can do everything, from reading pressure gauges to formulating quality-control reports, ensures millions of corrugated cardboard sections.

     CSC offers the beginning of a miraculous flow of products that are taken for granted in our society.  Companies, like Welch Packaging, take corrugated sections and artfully weave into boxes, containers and colorful displays.  Welch is headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, with operating divisions in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati, Toledo and Columbus. Everything from stock boxes for shipping and custom made-to-fit designer boxes to colorful stand-up displays, are created through a host of artisans, designers and skilled technicians. frankgehry wiggle chair

     Corrugated cardboard has been a defining method in proving that creativeness can be very resourceful. Over 40 years ago, Architect Frank Gehry designed the Wiggle Chair, which was made completely out of cardboard.  Always known for being ahead of his time, artists are finally catching up with dramatic sculptures and furniture pieces, using corrugated cardboard.

     Another fine example is Ivan Parati’s SandPaper modular sofa that is constructed from corrugated cardboard and recycled paper.  This green building design is just one of hundreds of ideas now taking shape, by using an old idea.Ivan Parati's SandPaper modular sofa

     As corrugated cardboard becomes even more dynamic in form and perfection, those entrepreneurial thoughts by the technological and artistic minds produce an endless array of many more creative and practical uses for this material, including the vision of CSC’s CEO John Potocsnak of a near future of 10 manufacturing plants, as I see it, is not his ‘Impossible Dream’ – moreover those reachable stars.

     Since 1884, when a Swedish chemist, by the name of Carl F. Dahl, first discovered the simplistic art form of pulping wood chips into a strong, tear resistant material. Since then, the world has been transformed into a more productive place. By using three layers of brown Kraft paper and weaving into a corrugated texture, paper can be changed into a lightweight, tear resistant and substantially firm material. 

     With driven companies like Corrugated Supplies Company ( and Welch Packaging Group (, they are able to expand on natural resources in a positive way.  Just imagine the future ideas that are possible, with corrugated cardboard, as we continue to grow toward a greener way of life.

Editor’s note: Below is the digital print which has been updated and can be downloaded:

Art in the Box – The creative dynamics of corrugated cardboard

Published by on February 2013. Filed under Archives, Georgia, Illinois, In-Out Design Section, Indiana. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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