This week for Material Monday we will be focusing on the innovative uses of paper as a material brought to you by our regular contributor Seetal Solanki of Ma-tt-er.
According to Wikipedia “Paper is a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibres of cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets. It is a versatile material with many uses, including writing, printing, packaging, cleaning, and a number of industrial and construction processes.”
The very earliest known uses of paper reach as far back as 2nd century BC in China, where paper was a substitute for silk across many applications. One of the earliest pieces of paper was made from hemp, cotton and linen called papyrus, derived from the Greek word papuros.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that paper was turned into a mass manufacturing industry which involved making a pulp from wood and is now a billion dollar industry with China, United States and Japan as the largest producers.
Designer Seungbin Yang’s modern depiction of traditional Korean lacquerware uses paper rather than the traditional wood from Ott tree, creating a much lighter weight application.
The Ott tree is now rarely used in Korea due to mass manufacturing taking over, however his unexpected use of paper enables a new material for tableware which has similar properties to the traditional lacquerware – waterproof, durable, antibacterial and eco-friendly.
WooJai Lee, a recent graduate from Design Academy Eindhoven, created a modular system for indoor furniture from PaperBricks made out of recycled newspaper. The paper provides a textured, marbled like exterior which in turn gives a soft, warm and textile like surface texture.
“Usually, paper becomes weaker after each round of recycling as the fibres shrink and decrease, which is what prompted Lee to consider a more sturdy solution.” Giving the paper a new lease of life WooJai Lee explains.
Paper is such a versatile material that it is even being manufactured from a calcium carbonate (stone) which is 100% waterproof perfect for those notebooks.
Even across digital applications, E-paper is a technology that is being translated into most of our electronic devices and reading material.
There are so many iterations of paper being created with it being one of the most used materials globally and locally. Whether it be the physical kind or the digital kind we all use this very essential material.