Spring Summer 2011 Micro Trend - Papercraft

on 31/7/10

For Spring Summer 2011 The Trend Boutique sees a move away from 'all things digital' and a return to a slower, more natural form of design, where craftmanship is key. This new emphasis offers a perfect reflection of the upbeat, optimism seen for this season, created using softer, more simple materials whilst achieving an intricate aesthetic. 

The use of paper as the key material also has an eco-friendly, more contemporary craft feel that is right for the current climate, and whether it is artists, designers or architects the use of this everyday material harnesses a high level of modern craftsmanship & artistry to allow these beautiful pieces to emerge.

Although 'Papercraft' is not a new technique, what is interesting is the array of new applications and the number of artists that are taking this craft to the next level to stunning effect. The Trend Boutique have taken a look at the various types of 'Papercraft' that are being seen.

Relief Sculptures

Relief sculptures are at first sight one of the most simplistic forms of 'Papercraft' where paper is cut & layered to create sculptures & artworks. The complexities of this artform though is achieved by the play in scale & the bold use of colour.  One of the artists we liked was Charles Clary, an emerging American designer, specializing in creating relief sculptures composed of layers of intricately cut paper, formed on canvases and inspired by natural and organic forms.  His work is colourful and tactile, drawing the observer into the captivating forms.

Charles Clary 'Double Diddle Evisceration' (Detail)

Similar relief sculptures were also seen at Maison et Objet in Paris that took place in January this year, designer Maud Vantours creates amazing wall panels using the same techniques. Her milles-feuilles, which translates as 'a thousand leaves' consist of individual pieces, as well as intricately cut wallpapers that has been used as central features for stores & exhibitions.

Maud VantoursRelief Sculpture by Maud Vantours, Courtesy of Maison et Objet January 2010

Cut Paper

Another form of 'papercraft' is to create amazingly detailed illustrations & sculptures using an even more intricate form of cut paper. The use of paper as an illustrative medium creates an interesting way of interpreting pictures or stories, it draws on being able to manipulate and cut the paper with ease to create two-dimensional or three-dimensional designs.

Peter Callesen is a contemporary Danish artist, creating 3D illustrations using paper alone, he exploites the fragility of paper to create the mood within his work.  The majority of his work is created from thin A4 paper, and transforms it into sculptural illustrations, by doing this he feels that it shows a material we can all relate to, and because the paper is neutral it leaves it open to fill with different meaning. He likes the way that paper cut sculptures allows 'the magical transformation of a flat sheet of paper into figures that expand into the space surrounding them.  

Peter Callesen
Birds Trying to Escape their Drawing by Peter Callesen

The Trend Boutique really love the way his artwork has an extremely contemporary feel with intense depth & meaning. Within both his smaller & larger scale works he often creates the sense that the focal point is 'escaping' from the illustration or installation, due to the creation of 3D relief & figures through his clever paper cuts.

Peter Callesen - FallFall by Peter Callesen

Rob Ryan designs intricately cut two-dimensional illustrative designs with simple heartfelt messages within the illustration.  His designs are hand cut and sold as paper cut designs or are also turned into limited edition screen-prints. Rob has collaborated on a wide array of projects from jewellery & accessories, skateboards to magazine features with the likes of Tatty Devine, The Rug Company, Lovenskate, Elle, Vogue, Fortnum & Mason, Urban Outfitters & Paul Smith all seeking out his skills.

You Are My Universe by Rob Ryan

Rob Ryan
Caged Lovers by Rob Ryan

Another fine artist we admire is Su Blackwell, her delicate 3D paper dioramas, illustrations & larger scale scupltures have storytelling at the heart of them. Evoking soft childhood memories she combines this with the re-telling of fairytales & folklore, her pieces allow you a sense of escapism as you are transported to a lost, fragile world. We like the way that  'up-cycled' vintage books & print run through her work, and her love of paper a medium of expression is evident throughout.

Alongside her art pieces, Su has also been involved in a wide range of impressive commercial projects including Volvo, the Cartier store, Paris and Tatler & Harrods magazine.

Su BlackwellEdensor, Derbyshire (A Guide To) by Su Blackwell

Su BlackwellThe Lake & The Boat by Su Blackwell

Architectural Sculptures & Models

Matthew Picton is a contemporary artist who has always had an interest in cartography & maps, and it is from this passion that he creates his urban sculptures & postwar landscapes. Using the concept of architectural style models he sets about recording the evolution of civilisation by re-creating the aesthetic & historical changes cities go through in a 3D paper map layout.

He cleverly uses a reversal of traditional architectural models to create a simple abstract, where the idea is that the empty white spaces 'commemorate' the buildings & the people once lived. His sculptures are made completely by hand & can often have over 1,000 pieces to each model. Each piece created has a unique depth & meaning, such as his sculpture of Dresden being constructed using a 'burnt' score from the composer Richard Wagner for 'The Ring of the Nibelung'.

'Dresden Burnt 1945', 2010 by Matthew Picton

Matthew Picton San Francisco 1906 by Matthew Picton

More in a traditional vein, we also liked the ther models created to be part of the exhibition 'Pick a Card(Board)!' by the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine and shown at Maison et Objet, Paris in January 2010. The idea was to get 13 architects to create a cardboard 'cabana' or small hut to celebrate the joys of childhood. Simple, fun and another great example of designers embracing this humble material.

Pick a Cardboard'Pick a Card(Board)!' by the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Courtesy of Maison et Objet

Pick a Cardboard'Pick a Card(Board)!' by the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Courtesy of Maison et Objet

Cardboard Interiors & Architecture

Cardboard has also become a staple in interior design & shop fittings, with many stores opting for the display & point of sale materials being made from the packaging that the products came in, an amazing example of this is the Aesop store in Australia.
Other examples of cardboard shopfits is a new shop 'Circus' in Brixton Village, London where they use cardboard made out of strong honeycomb design, originally used in WWII aeroplane construction to create flexible fittings & fixtures that are fully compostable. They are also exploring the idea of 'up-cycled' cardboard furniture and their fittings are totally in-keeping with this modern day thrift store.
Circus, Cardboard Display Areas
We also liked the RIBA foldaway bookstore that we have previously featured as a 'cool find' that was part of the London Festival of Architecture.
 Foldaway Bookstore
Foldaway Bookstore, London Festival of Architecture
In addition, it is not just cardboard that can be used as a basis for the interior, with Paul Coudamy creating a 'paper' focal point to his interior & architecture design with the 'Paper Cloud' office where a 9-metre long crumpled paper lampshade over neon blue lighting that surprisingly give uniform light to the meeting table below.
Paul Coudamy
'Paper Cloud' By Paul Coudamy

Cardboard Furniture

It is not just artists that are harnassing paper to create amazing pieces, but as we look for new materials that fit our new simpler aesthetic & eco requirements cardboard & paper are being seen as a perfect alternative to plastics & other materials.

The Trend Boutique really liked the 'cardboard furniture range' that is inspired by the structures of wasp nests, crystals, and bone structures of microscopic sea organisms created by the Manchester based design company the Lazerian Studio. Launched this year, they used corrugated cardboard made from recycled pulp that they sourced from a local factory.

This was a collaborative project between furniture designer Liam Hopkins & one of the Lazerian team Richard Sweeney resulted in furniture designs that take their names from their inspiration points, Radiolaria being the sea organisms & Bravais being a renowned French physicist that studied crystals. What we like about the pieces is that despite using humble materials through working with the inherent properties of the cardboard & computer design techiques they have created some complex pieces of furniture.

Lazerian Honeycomb 'Radiolarian Sofa' 2010


Lazerian Honeycomb 'Bravais Armchair' 2010

Another piece of cardboard furniture we liked was by the French architect company, Paul Coudamy that have created flexible 'Cellulose', a cardboard meeting pod for the office or design studio. Acting like an industrial-style cocoon, these pods provide the perfect flexible working space to either reflect or conduct a meeting and to get away from the general noise & commotion of the average office.

Paul Coudamy

'Cellulose', Cardboard Meeting Pod by Paul Coudamy


The combination of old and new techniques & materials is also used in product development, and this has been pushed to its boundaries with the work of researchers at Harvard University who have taken the traditional concept of paper-folding or Origami and developed it with the latest technology. They have created a 'paper' plane that can fold itself into different forms, using fibreglass embedded with electronic strips as thin as human hair and nickel-titanium 'shape-memory' triggers, when heat is applied it simply transforms into the form or shape required. 

One of the product designers, we liked that uses traditional crafts as a method of creating modern products is Yu Jordy Fu, a graduate in Spatial Design from Central St Martin's & a MA in Architecture from Royal College of Art. Taking inspiration from architectural design projects, she created 'Cloud Lamps' that are made from recycled paper & fully sustainable. Each intricate lamp is handmade and also designed to be used with energy saving light bulbs. She also created 'Cloud Walk' a nine-metre long horizontal chandelier that she launched at 100% Design last year.

'Cloud Chandelier' by Yu Jordy Fu

Yu Jordy Fu'Cloud Lamps' by Yu Jordy Fu

This 'Micro Trend' offers a real solution in these more austere times, however rather than being down beat or plain, the intricacies of the material used offer an optimistic, & delicate design aesthetic where we can value the simpler things in life. Our more basic resources & materials of paper & cardboard become the central focal point and objects of desire for 2010 & beyond, clever packaging & products will become keepsakes as we finally start to ditch the 'throwaway culture' of the previous decade.

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