Chopstick/Steamer Stool

B.A.S.E. Beijing

Ryan Horsman ( and I created the Chopstick/Steamer Stool as part of a summer abroad program at B.A.S.E. Beijing with support from founders Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray. The goal of this particular project—taking cues from Chinese culture and its ability to make excess/waste useful—was to (re)use everyday Chinese items in new ways. Inspired by keneth cobonpue’s Chiquita, the Chopstick/Steamer Stool blends modern design with traditional Chinese objects by combining bamboo steamers, thousands of disposable chopsticks and simple cushioning material into a single piece of furniture.

The stool uses six bamboo steamers stacked vertically and bound. Peaking out of the top steamer is thousands of disposable chopstick—accumulated in less than a year by a ‘one child policy’ family—packed together and standing on end. Serving as a middleman between the steamers and the chopsticks is a basic cushion. Although foam is ideal, the cushion could be made of anything from an old rickshaw seat to a pile of rags. The cushion allows the chopsticks to move independently under pressure and prevents them from falling through the steamer racks. When combined in this way, these fundamental Chinese items form a deceptively comfortable stool which can reasonably be made without spending a single yuan.

Awards and Recognition for the Chopstick/Steamer Stool

11/16/2012 – Featured in “5 Ways to Repurpose Take-Out Containers, Utensils, and Chopsticks” on

2/7/2012 – Featured in “DIY UPCYCLING PRODUCTS 5 TOP IDEAS” on

2/17/2011 – Featured in the Chopstick gallery of HIDDEN HEROES by Vitra Design Museum.

9/16/2009 – Awarded Honorable Mention from the 20 semifinalists in the ‘One Good Chair’ design competition.

8/1/2009 – chosen as one of 20 semifinalists in the ‘One Good Chair’ design competition.

7/23/09 – Featured on NOTCOT.ORG

June 2009 – Published in '>OnOffice' magazine. June 09 issue.

4/07/09 – Featured on Mother Nature Network.

4/06/09 – Featured on Design Boom.

3/27/09 to 3/31/09 – Exhibited in the 2009 Cranbrook Academy of Art Annual Chair Show

3/16/09 to 3/26/09 – Exhibited in the ‘Design Show’ in the Slusser Gallery of University of Michigan’s School of Art and Design

3/10/09 – Featured on

3/10/09 – Featured on the CONTEMPORIST.

received Second Prize in the Student Product Design category of Interior Furniture at the 2008 International Design Awards

8/1/08 to 9/1/08 – Exhibited at FEI Space in the 798 Arts District in Beijing, China during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Special thanks to Zhao Song Jie, Sen Liu, Richard Tursky, and Marshall Prado for all their help.

Furniture, Product Design