Hidden Lines by Studio JVM


Amsterdam designer Jeroen van Mechelen of Studio JVM has created a vaulted, cardboard guest room inside a villa carved out of a mountain in Vals, Switzerland.

Called Hidden Lines, the angles of the cardboard panels are defined by radials from the circular patio and the contours of the mountain.

These were converted into two vaulted rooms and the resulting profiles transferred to the 40mm cardboard panels, then CNC-cut.

The design was inspired by a medieval painting and incorporates a guest bedroom and bathroom.

Here's some text from the designers:


This design for a special cabinet creates a guesthouse within a newly designed villa that was carved out of a mountain wall in the village of Vals in Switzerland.

This special villa, designed by the renowned architectural firm SeARCH in collaboration with Christian Müller architects, has only one visible element which is an elliptical patio, manifest as a circular hole in the steep mountainside.

By materializing the invisible lines that define the very conditions of this house (the contour of the mountain, and the radials of the patio) a 3-dimensional cardboard matrix is created.

Two typical chapel-like volumes are carved from this matrix.

The cavities created are the bedroom and bathroom now enveloped by a 3 dimensional library cabinet.

The idea was inspired by the medieval painting 'St. Jerome in his study' by Antonella da Messina.

Above: the invisible lines - the contour of the mountain and the radials of the patio

Like this painting, the cardboard-carved "inverted chapel" becomes an autonomous space, which -like the mountain house-reversed- materializes in the genius loci of the house.

Above: the painting that inspired the design, St. Jerome in his study by Antonella da Messina

Lightweight cardboard sandwich panels were directly CNC-carved from the design files. In 2 days the cardboard space was simply pieced together by the design team.


Project: Hidden Lines, a cardboard cabinet
Design: Jeroen van Mechelen, Studio JVM
CNC Carving: Nedcam b.v.
Design Villa Vals: SeARCH in collaboration with Christian Müller architects.

Posted on Sunday December 6th 2009 at 9:49 am by Natasha Lyons. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Interesting material choice!

  • zetre

    You should show the rest of the house! It’s pretty Bond-cool. This is, to me, the weak link.

  • Joe
  • Cardboard is teh hott. <3

  • Daniel

    The painter was a man!!! Antonell”O” da Messina, not Antonella!

  • It’s quite nice for being a functionless, “coolness” driven choice. To me, the argument for the construction of the form is weak, and my only unanswered question is “Why?”.

  • M

    That looks terrible. it looks crude, clunky and unfinished. The way the material is cut for the light fittings is even worse.

  • Nicola

    AntonellO da messina!!

  • lele

    ….is Antonello da Messina, it’s a male…

  • The application of the inspiration is sweet. One can see the connection. Do I stand alone though thinking it odd to have a wood burning stove in this room? I would fear for my life.

  • davidbueso

    i saw it in valls…nice house!! at the time i could not believe in the cardboard but now i realise i was right..

  • Mark Harrison

    Great job and one that has numerous applications, the cardboad embodies a fire retardant and could actually be made completely fire resistant. The strength of carboard and for that matter paper too is unquestionably proven and allows the creation of aesthetically pleasing objects and buildings for those not restrained in their thinking!

  • it sounds quite serious project, but for some reason remindes me the houses i used to bild with my friends when we were kids… maybe it’s the material choice.

  • ujo

    what if you put a glass of icy water on top? put coasters on it.

  • aingeru

    Fantastik,…very bright…..Very good job. ….

  • the

    argument for argument sake….if you try to do something like this, focus on the details….some parts are very distracting!

  • karl

    cardboard shelf next to the bath?

  • ste

    second what “the” said before!
    aesthetic details are most important when something has no function… but the way how the parts are putted together is very annoying!

  • Chava

    Wow! The material choice is bold and unexpected, you like it or you don’t. And isn’t that always with good designs? Anyway, I think it’s beautiful. Pretty cool to have a room like this in your house!

  • And you named it "hidden lines", LOL

  • Ingenious! I like the contrast between the fun, throw away material and the "serious" historical inspiration. I wonder how long it will last?

  • Piti

    Cool idea. If it was a student project, very inventive! Not sure if the idea is to keep it permanently…