A start-up launched on Friday aims to make furnishing an office as simple as assembling a cardboard box.
Bloxes are the latest option in cardboard furniture (see photo gallery), which is gaining a toehold in the world of 'green' design. The corrugated cardboard puzzle pieces lock together to form sturdy shapes such as chairs, walls, and play forts.
The junior Raskin is using Bloxes to furnish the lofted Chicago office of digital design firm Humanized, where he is president (Mozilla hired Raskin and Humanized co-founders in January to work on Firefox and other projects.)
"You could go out and get yourself a set of cubicles and it'll be boring," Raskin said. But Bloxes, on the other hand, enable creativity on a whim. "It's pretty amazing to see when we need a desk or a workspace, we can build it in 10 minutes."
The interlocking forms are so strong that a car safely drove over a large form capped by plywood, Raskin said. Plus, the 'green,' recyclable building blocks can be packed flat for easy and inexpensive shipping.
Bloxes aren't ideal for outdoors use, although someone could probably coat them in waterproofing material, he said. However, similar shapes in plastic or another water-resistant material could work outside, Raskin added.
The 6-sided, 9.5 inch-square shapes are designed with CAD software and made in Chicago. Bloxes sells each case of 20 brown or white squares for $60, enough to build a form 36 inches by 45 inches.
The headquarters of Humanized features Bloxes workspaces as well as a virtual roman aquaduct, which help to absorb sound from a noisy heating and air conditioning system. Two other Chicago offices are using Bloxes, including news Web site Gapers Block. Raskin envisions Bloxes, which can be drawn or painted on, in kindergarten classrooms and college dormitories.
He sees an overlap between the worlds of sustainability and software. The Web 2.0 movement is refocusing people on design while offering highly customizable do-it-yourself tools for tinkerers, Raskin said.
"I guess you could say Bloxes are a physical representation of Web 2.0."