As we come to terms with the urgent need to reinvent our material dependence in order to reshape our planet’s future, one has to wonder what role design can play in rebalancing the equation.
And if one had to guess what the greatest impact a change can have, it is probably in adopting a disruptive approach to material innovation. One that transforms our material dependance into a sustainable one.
For this edition of NOV in Milano, Swiss designers are tasked to be the agents of change and explore a new materiality centered on paper.
A sustainable, eco-responsible and biodegradable material, paper has been around for thousands of years. Although the earliest record of paper (a map) dates back to 200 BC, its invention, as we know it today, is believed to be attributed to a HAN Dynasty court official in 100 AD named Cai Lun.
Since then, paper has come a long way and many developments have made it a commonly used material for printing and packaging. Yet, the properties of paper make it adaptable for many other uses; paper is porous, flexible, foldable, scrunchable, durable, biocompatible and biodegradable. And contrary to popular belief, it is often considered one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable materials.
For many years, designers have been revisiting the use of paper as a material with iconic projects like the Cabbage Chair
by Oki Sato (NENDO), the Honey-Pop Chair by Tokujin Yoshioka, while others have used the material for its poetic-like lightness such as the Ingo Maurer and Noguchi lamps to name a few.
Today, paper has the potential to become an innovative, sustainable, ecological solution that will hopefully tip the balance of our material dependence. PAPER TRAIL is a foray into that realm.
House of Switzerland, Milano Design Week