A radical shift towards sustainable showcases

Photography by: Larry Teo


The vertical "paper trees" provide structural support to the wrapping staircase and simultaneously function as product displays in a furniture showroom.


To avoid any reliance on artificial lighting, natural lighting has been channeled to filter through tiny perforations within the cardboard structure and emulate how sunlight would hit the floor in a jungle.


Within each paper tree, sitting rooms have been installed to allow customers to browse and interact with the products.


The office space on the second floor is roomy enough to house a full team of staff.


In the feature wall, piezo-electric boards made out of quartz has been inserted to harness the potential of anthropogenic energy harvesting. It converts any vibrations formed by human activities into electricity.


A suspended meeting room on the second level resembling a glass box allows visitors a panoramic view of the Paper Pavilion.

If anyone doubts the feasibility of ecofriendly and recyclable material in the realm of architecture and interiors, they may find themselves convinced after reviewing The Paper Pavilion by Singapore student-designer Larry Teo, in support of green construction.

Teo, who has been flying the eco-friendly flag high, had incorporated natural components into an aesthetically fronted showroom concept. Idealised within two warehouse units in the Geylang Bahru industrial estate in Singapore, the Paper Pavilion would function as a showroom sculpted with recyclable materials and novel technology.

don't call it junk

Even though cardboard is a material that is often found discarded on the streets, the humble material has been embraced by Teo, who sees the potential in salvaging the light-weight material for use as lighting and structural mediums. What that has transpired into is a series of vertically oriented display spaces, showcasing merchandise in soaring "paper trees". This allows visitors to encounter a journey through a "cardboard jungle" in which they can walk through a unique retail experience underlined by sustainability.

In the metaphorical jungle, shadows are used to great effect to focus on the various transitory spaces between the "paper trees". Natural lighting has been optimised by playing on apertures from all sides of the building parameters to avoid relying on artificial lighting. This filters direct sunlight through tiny perforations within the cardboard and emulates how sunlight reaches the floor in canopies and jungles of the wild.

The Paper Pavilion is also a hotbed for unconventional technology. Within the feature walls, Teo had included a piezo-electric board out of quartz for anthropogenic energy harvesting. In simpler terms, this allows for energy to be recycled and stored as electricity from the residual energy in vibrations produced by activities of its visitors, like walking through the showroom and interacting with the display.

Teo's commitment towards a world based on sustainability has seen his showroom concept being selected as one of the winners of the prestigious American Architecture Prize 2017 under the Architectural Design/Small Architecture category. It shows that despite the student-designer's tender age, the harmonious assemblage of technology towards environmental sustainability is clearly a step into the right direction and heralds the future of high-tech exhibition and showroom spaces.


The Paper Pavilion,