Paper Tea House by Shigeru Ban



A tea house made out of paper and cardboard, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, is to be auctioned in London tomorrow. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.


The Paper Tea House is part of an sale of Japanese art and design being held by auctioneer Phillips de Pury & Company.


More info from the auctioneer follows:





London –April 1– Phillips de Pury & Company is pleased to announce that it will be offering a important piece of architecture by one of the most celebrated architects working today, Shigeru Ban, in its forthcoming London sale, Kyobai: The Art and Culture of Japan.


A tea house, constructed of square paper tubes, is a structure designed for indoor use measuring just over 5 meters long. Housing a table and four stools, the house also features a waiting area with a bench in keeping with tea ceremony practice.


Shigeru Ban is a forerunning contemporary architect revisiting Western concepts of Modernism and traditional Japanese architecture conceiving some of the most elegant and inspired buildings across the globe. Dedicated to the exploration of basic geometric elements and innovative use of materials, Shigeru Ban has created unique structural solutions that employ a vision of rational and practical space with the utmost respect to the people that inhabit these spaces and a structure’s harmony with its environment.


The architect’s ‘paper architecture’ comprises an ongoing series of structures using paper tubes as the main building material. Spanning a number of uses from multiple refugee housing solutions for disaster zones in Rwanda, Japan, India and Turkey to a collaboration with Frei Otto for the Japan Pavilion at the Hanover Expo in 2000 to his current satellite office that that sits on the roof of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the use of paper by Shigeru Ban has been a pivotal design solution with firm ethical footing.


Low-tech, adaptable and recyclable, the paper constructions address the current trend of high-tech, high-impact and unattainable design that has been so prevalent in the contemporary architecture. In addition, the use of the material presents, in each application, an engineering challenge that Shigeru Ban continually masters. His paper tube buildings have been admired for the ultimate breakaway from the confines of traditional materials to create light-filled, stimulating buildings with unsurpassed sophistication.


Paper tea house by Shigeru Ban will offered with pre-sale estimate of £20,000 – 30,000.

The sale will take place at the company’s European headquarters in London on April 3 at 6 pm.

Kyobai: The Art and Culture of Japan
Viewing: March 28 – April 3 from 10 am – 6 pm
Sale: April 3 at 7 pm

Phillips de Pury & Company
9, Howick Place
London SW1

Posted on Wednesday April 2nd 2008 at 11:19 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • awesome!

    Shigeru always amazes me! And this time he used square section structure instead of paper tubes.

    Thank you Shigeru for your work!

    Thanks Dezeen for your work!


  • K. Rimane

    indoor house that is. for £20K – £30K i’d rather buy something that goes outdoors.
    not impressed at all.

    • asdf

      think of it as a functional sculpture

  • square paper tubes???? Are you kidding!

    Isn’t a tube cylindrical by definition?

  • Dubbie

    IIIIIII don’t know about this one. Shigeru Ban has amazing stuff, so on this ocassion I guess he can use the get-out-of-jail-free card.

  • Zenza


  • jek

    c'mon square tubes aren't new and if you have been to japan, this is really not all that interesting, just another case of japan-lovers in the UK getting over excited about simple things… this is not anything special at all. really not wirth spending all that money on, what exactly are you paying for…?

    • Enculturator

      As it says, it is about the modernist form (look it up, ps it's more than pictures), and materiality (ie paper). Take a moment to look at its composition, on all scales, then imagine how you would build such a thing with paper (don't forget about its selfweight). All conceptual pieces come together perfectly. It is not about in trensic value by being Japanese. So, come on, don't be a je[r]k

  • doh

    lol is there a weight limit on the seats

  • r.n

    A cardboard Mockintosh tea room!

  • Daniel W

    An interesting design, but not for that price, the price also isn’t helped by the fact that it can’t be used outside, don’t really see the point of having it inside, you may as well just spend £20,000 on something much better and much more practical

  • izan

    very cleans an idea’ evolved more!

  • fun idea… but non functional.. so.. lets call it art.. i would hate to spill tea on the table.. i know how my tea parties usually turn and hopefully no one tries to dance on the table.. any thoughts or comments on recycling or anything of that nature here??

  • san san

    HAHAHAHAH!!! Giant cat scratching room!!!! I bet my cat could shred the place in a day.

  • filigree!! and it’s “nothing but” simple cardboard!!

  • Joe

    Interesting deign, visually. And as a peice of art it’s OK. Just not original though, so I don’t understand the hubbub. It’s just a giant paper model. That idea/hobby has been around for centuries.
    A FUNCTIONAL, REAL paper house can be found at:

  • greymase

    Ummmm…when art is sold, you never price it based on utility. And surprisingly (though I find this beautiful), not even on beauty. A huge part of the value is what is called in the auction and art sale business “aura” – I am not kidding. It is only called that because the art world can’t bring itself to say, “brand”. Shigeru Ban is an awesome architect, and his projects that can be possessed will fetch a premium, so analyses like, “it won’t even go outside” are as well considered as “mine goes to eleven”. That said, I LOVE this…anyone know where I can get the paper square tubes? Not to proud to knock-off as I do not have 20-30k pounds laying about my bricks and mortar house!

  • right an excellent piece of work, SANGEEERA always never fails to amaze me!
    worth every penny if not more…x

  • Makus O.

    Shigeru is an inspiration,again another one to keep the critics busy.hehehehe.Keep up the good work

  • Makus O.

    Shigeru is such an inspiration for early entrants into paper arch like me.It’s good to see another structure to keep the critics busy.hehehehe.Keep up the good work

  • Makus O.

    Shigeru is such an inspiration for early entrants into paper arch like me.It’s good to see another structure to keep the critics busy.hehehehe.
    Thank you Shigeru Ban fort your work

  • Kate

    This is a very interesting project. It looks simple but I just can’t seem to find out how it works. A square section can’t keep it’s section from the moment there comes weight on it. Can anyone help me with more information or with the structural principles of this project.

  • Trish B.

    This is visually stimulating and structurally profound and I would love to step through it sometime and examine it as an objet d’art but, that being said, this paper architecture is still paper. The thought of these structures being the wave of the future for housing refugees and being a low impact form of architecture seems like a real load. It’s paper. And unless there is some plan for keeping hurricanes out of Mumbai it doesn’t seem like this would do anyone much good.

    • sluvuy

      I think the houses for refugees were meant to provide them with TEMPORARY houses as fast as possible. I don't think they're meant for housing them FOREVER

  • Joddyph

    Very Inspiring, though i dont see any “real” function in it, but if there’s any other version of it in much stronger material maybe i will consider to have one, of course in much lower cost. But, once again, as an “art”, it’s very inspiring!

  • Chibi MARU

    I think it’s really inspiring, instead of just consider it’s function or price! Just as Ban san said, if you don’t like it, at least you can recycle the paper and make some other things! Reduce wastage!

  • Paper is for reading, writing, wiping, and oh—origami. Origami house—that’s it!