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FAIRE 2021

Cardboard Tiles

Pavillon Noir Architectures – Nicolas Bellet, Aude Le Stum, architects; César Bazaar, engineer

Research and experimentation for the production of cardboard tiles

Research and experimentation for the production of cardboard tiles


Paper has a perpetual life cycle and can be continuously recycled as long as it is collected. Almost 9 million tons of paper and cardboard are used every year in France, amounting to approximately 130 kg per person.

Molding techniques have long been applied to paper pulp recovered from waste newspaper, cardboard, and packaging. Paper was indeed regularly employed in ornamentation to create interior decors in the nineteenth century, and also was experimented with in the late 1970s by David Hockney in order to create the Paper Pools series. Combined with modern techniques, paper therefore appears to be an ideal resource for construction, which is why the Pavillon Noir team has introduced paper in the fabrication of cement tiles. In slabs or as a coating, paper reduces the amount of sand and cement employed, with the end purpose being to fully replace these materials.

While keeping the machining of traditional cement tiles, the idea is to replace the bed of cement mortar, or “biscuit,” with a new blend that incorporates paper. At similar sizes as traditional tiles, cardboard tiles incorporating 60% proportion of paper are 40% lighter than their equivalents made exclusively with cement mortar, while also transforming into a sustainable material. Boasting a compressive strength similar to that of concrete, the cardboard tiles appear to be resistant to fire and to have interesting thermal and acoustic properties, while also remaining visually the same as tiles made of 100% cement.

Bringing together ancient know-how and contemporary techniques, the molds of these tiles were 3D-printed. With a blend made of 80% paper and marble dust, they are extremely lightweight. Closer to the traditional recipe of carton-pierre (a type of papier-mâché including lime), they seem to offer good fireproof, acoustic, and thermal insulation properties.

Pavillon Noir Architectures – Nicolas Bellet & Aude Le Stum

After several years working in Parisian studios, Aude and Nicolas partnered together to create Pavillon Noir Architectures in June 2021. Their vision is driven by imagination, readings, nature, and ideas, and emerges from technical tools. The milieu, the urban space, the human, culture, sensitivity, rhythm, and the emergence of new techniques are their primary “working layers” and influence their conception of space. The name “Pavillon Noir” is a reference to the Jolly Roger, the pirates’ banner, which serves here as a catalyst of a shared idea pursuing the détournement and questioning of established facts, interrogating the environment and materiality. Residents at Opale Montreuil, hosted by Plateau Urbain, they later got involved with César Leblic, alias César Bazaar.

César Bazaar
César is a creator. Trained as an engineer and a former video game developer, he currently works to bring artisanal practices, traditional techniques, and digital technologies together. He thus manufactures ornamental cement tiles by tacking on the use of a 3D printer to an ancient Indian technique. He also applies himself to renewing the technique of block printing on textiles by proposing contemporary designs and by substituting the carved wood with recycled plastic.


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