FSC-certified corrugated cardboard folds into a super sturdy yet highly portable chair/table/stool; several fun patterns are available.

It’s January. We’ve just been through the big season of shopping – I mean, giving. And as upstanding citizens of Portland, of course that’s meant shopping local. It’s the norm, and should be. We’re lucky that local offers so much here in our little corner of the world. But occasionally our eyes wander across the Internet and even overseas to items not to be had in these parts. In that category, a simple box from a designer in Holland: the Dutch Design Chair.

Maybe it caught my eye because I’ve just been on a kick of scouting out portable chairs, a result of the holiday season, when all of a sudden homes are required to comfortably seat many more inhabitants than usual. Part of my holiday included traveling north with three folding chairs in the hatchback of my car, as requested by the newly married couple who were proud of their new dining set but not equipped with enough chairs for all the dinner guests. None of the three old chairs I brought were as cool as the Dutch Design Chair.

The Dutch Design Chair "is a chair, stool and coffee table in one." It comes as cardboard pieces in a box, and it results in a box. But not the same box. From flat packed box (with handle), the chair assembles into nearly a 12" cube (a bit taller), with little legs and a cutout for a handle. It's extremely light but can carry up to 440 pounds (that's 200 kilos for you Europhiles). And it doesn't look like an upended storage box, since it comes in patterns of faux stone, rustic wood and a world map. At $39, the only problem is shipping costs from the Netherlands, which on the Dutchbydesign.com website (a great view into practical and quirky contemporary Dutch design and home accessories) would be $40. So I won't be giving any of these quite yet, but maybe someone in Portland will do her own version. Or maybe they already are?