Design studio the Andes House saw potential for an office system in an unlikely material. Cholguán, a natural, lightweight composite wood board that's commonly found in industrial packaging and backing for furniture, has been manufactured by the Chilean forestry company Arauco for over 50 years.
Collaborating with Arauco, the Andes House tested the durability of cholguán by exposing it to liquid. To their surprise, they found the material survived but bent gently, revealing that it could be shaped to divide offices.
The ENSAMBLE Project, as the system is known, includes smaller panels for subdividing desks. Perforations allow office accessories to be hung within easy reach, like a pegboard.
Lightweight and configurable, the designers see the system as a flexible solution for workspaces, as well as schools, libraries, and emergency shelters.
Pricing is not yet available for ENSAMBLE, but a single board of cholguán retails for about $5. By keeping assembly simply and using glue to join the system, the Andes House hopes to make it a cost-effective solution for the office and beyond.