Molo Design is tearing down rigid beliefs about what walls should be. The Vancouver, Canada-based creative firm , founded by architects Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen, has come up with an innovative family of soft architectural products made from paper and non-woven textiles. The core of molo’s collection is softwall and softblock, a modular space shaping system that allows users to form a wall or partition off an area without need of nails or construction tools. Like party decorations made out of honeycombed crepe paper, molo softwalls are based on a honeycomb cellular structure that can be expanded or compressed at will.
“When we originally designed softwall, we were looking into a solution for making homes smaller and flexible,” explains MacAllen. “The idea was that a home could consist of one main space that could be divided into smaller, more intimate spaces when required.” The pair began experimenting with lots of small paper models and discovered that the structure of honeycomb itself gives paper amazing strength that could be scaled up to large sizes.
Although molo had residential uses in mind, the softwalls have attracted museums, trade show exhibitors, business offices and public venues in need of easy-to-install divider ideas. The standard softwall is made from 400 layers of honeycombed translucent white or unbleached kraft paper and non-woven textile material, bounded by natural wool felt ends. The thick felt ends fold to create handles when the wall is open and form a casing when the wall is compressed. Available in two heights, 46 inches (1.2M) and 78 inches (2m) and a thickness of 12 inches (30cm), the walls will expand from 1.5 inches (3cm) to over 16.5 feet (5m). Each panel weighs about 17 pounds.
Water-proof, UV-protective, sound-absorbent, tear-resistant and fire-retardant, the softwalls are designed to be freestanding and can be stretched, curved and stacked. Concealed magnets allow panels to lock together vertically end-to-end to build walls of indefinite length. The walls can be shaped to form a room within a larger space or create a dramatic entry corridor – and they can be just as quickly folded in for compact storage. Both the non-woven polyethylene textile and kraft paper used are 100% recyclable and made with recycled content. Since introducing the softwalls, molo has expanded its soft collection to include softseating and softlights.
Although a pragmatic and adaptable approach to organizing space, molo soft products have an airy, delicate beauty that make a dramatic backdrop and even serve as sculptural installation art. Elegant, intriguing and ethereal, molo softwalls and softblocks have won numerous international awards and have even been selected for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.