Flat Pack Products: 30 Efficient and Eco-Friendly Packaging Designs

(Images via: Treehugger, Abitare, Vestal Design, Dornob, Gajitz, Home Dosh, Shiny Shiny TV, Ponoko, EcoFriend, Project Koreck, Modern DNA)

There are countless instances in which “flat” is a very bad thing. No one wants to pour themselves a nice tall glass of non-fizzy soda or discover that one of their car tires is hopelessly deflated. Even worse? The realization that a formerly voluminous hairstyle is dead on arrival or certain bodies parts (ahem…chest and derriere) are about as shapely as a piece of Home Depot lumber. The decidedly cheerful “yin” to flat’s mopey “yang” comes in the form of streamlined packaging designs which, for all intents and purposes, help to save shipping costs and consequently ease up on the environment. This is one particular case in which flat is where it’s at.

Whiz Through The Streets Without Missing a Beat

(Images via: Like Cool, Treehugger, Abitare)

Scoring second place in the L’ARGUS European Design Competition, French designer Nicholas Belly conveys the concept of simplistic, eco-friendly mobility with his wooden flat pack bicycle and scooter, both of which can be popped out of their respective templates and assembled in minutes flat. While it would be easy-breezy to navigate extremely narrow alleyways or congested city thoroughfares without going into cardiac arrest, one has to question the longevity of products like these and their ability to effectively support the weight of a typical person while also holding up to the rigors of life on the streets. Still, the notoriety he has earned is well deserved because let’s face it, we really don’t need Hummer-sized two wheelers clogging competing with conventional traffic. A complementary flat pack accessory for Belly’s on-the-go, lightweight bike and scooter comes in the form of Juilen Bergignat and Patrice Mouille’s 100% recyclable polypropylene Tatoo bicycle helmet, which is flexible enough to fold up into a compact package when not in use. While some critics argue that it isn’t exactly designed to withstand the type of traffic accidents that are common while gliding along on two wheels, it seems as though it would certainly offer welcome protection in a pinch. Naysayers of the world, how about coming up with a better design, hmmm?

Chug (or Simply Lug) With The Greatest of Ease

(Images via: Neatorama, Sustainable Is Good, Treehugger, Best In Packaging, Recygal, Vestal Design, Gajitz, Gear Patrol)

From Tetra Pak paperboard beverage boxes and rectangular Sam’s Club milk gallons to Heineken beer bottle bricks, angular French Rabbit wine packs, square soda bottles and Cubis containers, these far-out liquid ensconcing designs share three major eco-appealing features beyond their obvious sleek good looks. Conventional beverage bottle designs take up more space during transit and ultimately on the shelf, whereas rectangular designs reduce shipping costs, increase storage efficiency and ultimately curb greenhouse gas emissions since a larger amount of product can be transported at one time. Furthermore, the vast majority of redesigned beverage containers typically utilize planet friendly materials, as is the case with designer Andrew Seunghyun Kim’s collapsible, 100% sugar cane byproduct-comprised rectangular soda bottle (complete with 25% slimmer plastic cap) and the Cyprian-designed short, stubby and entirely stackable HDPE Cubis container with convenient flip top opening. Knock one back for Momma Nature (oh, go ahead…make it a six-pack) and be sure to pop your empties in the closest recycling bin when you’re done. 😉

Tote Stuff on the Go With Much-o Air Flow

(Images via: Interior Design, Modern DNA, Dezeen, Ektopia)

Bags already have a pretty sleek physique right out of the gates, so why bother improving on something that’s pretty great “as is”? Well, because that’s what designers do in the middle of the night instead of counting sheep! While you may not save very much storage room with these designs (compared to conventional versions), from an aesthetic standpoint, they are certainly easy on the eyes and dare say, even a little edgy.. sort of like the Sid Vicious of the reusable bag setArtecnica gets extra brownie points for their novel, airy, stretchy and stupefyingly circular concept which is carved from 100% recycled advertising billboards using zero thread, adhesive or other extraneous materials while Demelza Hill’s reversible doppelganger version is constructed with felt-backed rubber and boasts the extra added addition of a handy top-fastening snap to ensure that all your organic goodies won’t spilleth over. Being a bag lady (or man) doesn’t seem so bad after all if you elect to carry a few of these babies around.

Give Pizazz To Your Pad With Flat Lifestyle Accessories

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Featuring distinctive design elements, ease of assembly and a quirky profile that could easily give conventional versions a dysmorphic body complex, there are so many examples of flat pack housewares that it’s mind boggling. Maria Pitallano’s plastic Petal Bowl emulates the construction of a flower, while Japanese-made, fully expandable and lively patterned Plastica vases accommodate the unexpected floral arrangement in full-throttle style.  Buro North’s eco-friendly,  stylistic Christmas trees are made from waste wood via a low-energy production process and Jesse Korek’s laser cut, flat pack birds appear majestic in mid flight…just watch your head because those claws are notorious for drawing blood. Among the most appealing selections are Zaishu‘s sustainably produced flat pack seats/tables which are gorgeously adorned with water based inks and iBride‘s Diva Ostrich Console Table which rivals that of their polar bear bookshelf…but only by a smidge. So many options and so little time — seek and ye shall find!

Take On a Quirky Flat Pack Extracurricular Hobby

(Images via: Suck UK, Geekologie, Gadget World)

The above flat cardboard sound system with fully functional speakers, offered by British purveyor Suck UK, has a convenient, centrally located iPod docking station which accommodates various other types of MP3 devices and comes with a nice-n-easy, fully illustrated assembly booklet that easily puts IKEA’s headache-inducing versions to shame. Priced at under $40 US dollars, the company is so sure that you’ll be banging your head in record time that they even throw in four AA batteries, which should be music to any flat-pack-enthusiast’s ears. Also the manufacturers of an amusing trio of flat pack, transportation-inspired kitty playhouses as well as a Classic PSP Mini Arcade, anyone craving kitschy-cool fun should definitely pull out their wallet and get the party started.

Vogue-to the Nth Degree With Flat Fashion Accessories

(Images via: Of Paper and Things, Design and Design, Hello You, Ponoko)

No more belly-aching about how you can’t possibly fit another fantastic fashion accessory in your already packed-to-the-gills closet. With Studio Lo on the scene, they’ve streamlined shoes and bags to such an extreme degree that you could become a veritable Imelda Marcos or Paris Hilton (hey, if the shoe fits…wear it) without missing a beat. The French-based sustainable design firm utilizes a water jet powered cutting tool to create their highly original screen printed felt pieces, making the wearer the envy of the flat pack scene. Where are old blue eyes and Sammy D. when you need ’em?

Let There Be Portable Flat Pack Light

(Images via: Ponoko, Dornob)

Now that flat pack lights are taking the design world by storm, there is absolutely no reason why klunky, entirely breakable bulbs should ever put a cramp in your style again. Joonhuyn Kim’s flat light still bears the hallmarks of its more bulbous brethren with a sleek glass exterior and distinctive tungsten filament interior — the only difference is that the whole thing is a scant inch in diameter and won’t ever become a casualty of a lopsided table given its lack of rollability. The button cell operated Eureka boasts a virtually indestructible LED that is implanted into one solid sheet of aluminum (offering long-term durability), whereas Hyun Jin Yoon & Eun Hak Lee’s credit card sized cardboard sibling packs an illuminating punch that won’t soon be forgotten. Makes you crave the days of dark alleys (with a side of pepper spray) just to put them to the test.

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