Is that piece of paper ready for the catwalk?
“Love Written in Pencil,” a song released in 1981 by Jeon Young-rok, gives a glimpse into how paper was used 25 years ago. On the finest sheets of paper, young lovers used to write down their feelings for their sweethearts. Now they use email and emoticons.
In the past, dated newspapers were often turned into wallpaper, gift-wrapping and even toilet tissue. Fliers of various sizes were gathered by children and folded into paper toys. Up to the 1980s, paper was ubiquitous in Korean life.
But a transfiguration of paper is now taking place. The Papertainer Museum, which opened last year in Olympic Park, was constructed out of paper; its 353 paper pillars stunned early visitors with their perfect resemblance to massive marble columns. The paper had been processed to be water and fire resistant.
Shigeru Ban, the museum’s designer, has turned Papertainer into a demonstration that environmentally friendly buildings are possible. Furniture in the building was also made of paper, all designed by Ban.
Easy Edges, a furniture line designed by Frank Gehry, is another good example of 21st century paper. His paper furniture has been a great success.
Gehry’s Wiggle Side Chair, made of 60 layers of condensed corrugated cardboard, is an expensive, hard-to-find item because of its unique material and design.
Akari, a paper lantern crafted by Japanese designer Isamu Noguchi, also makes innovative use of paper.
Combining modern design with the softness of paper, Akari became a successful blend of Eastern and Western art. Visitors to New York often spot Akari in Asian-themed restaurants.
Tyvek is another example of synthetic paper. Tord Boontje’s lamp “Midsummer Shade Light” is famous for its Tyvek cover, which looks like lace. The new material was used by Boontje to make a curtain that draws on the fact that paper is an ideal material for evoking 17th century romanticism.
The new types of paper captured the attention of the stationery industry as well. Paper Blanks creates day planners that look antique with covers that seem to be leather or silk, but are actually made of paper.
By Park So-hee Contributing Writer [firstname.lastname@example.org]