In the same spirit of simplification
that has encouraged the digital detox movement
and the emergence of pop-up parks
, some artists and designers are foregoing elaborate high-tech supplies in lieu of unpretentious paper. From pop art to toy kits to sidewalk ads, paper is gaining ground as a brilliant basic resource—and inspiring incredibly fresh-feeling creations.
Back to Basics
: Conceived and constructed by French graphic design duo Zim and Zou
, this in-progress art project features meticulously detailed paper replicas of iconic ’80s and ’90s electronics products. Cut exclusively from PEFC
-certified papers in bright neon pinks, purples, oranges and blues, each full-scale sculpture evokes the flashy aesthetic that defined those decades, poking fun in a way that’s less disparaging than it is warmly nostalgic. Among the most charming reproductions are a Maxwell cassette
and Sony Walkman
, a Polaroid Lightmixer
, and an absurdly clunky Motorola cell phone
. Those interested in the painstaking methods behind paper craft can get a glimpse at the process in this time-lapse video
of the designers at work.
: Grace Hawthorne, cofounder of recently shuttered
DIY mag ReadyMade
, has made a fast comeback with Paper Punk, an original paper craft kit for which she has raised more than $20K via Kickstarter
. Each kit contains colorful pop-out paper shapes that come together, without scissors or glue, into geometric sculptures. Touted
as a mash-up of origami and LEGOs, Paper Punk is designed to foster hands-on, 3D thinking—a skill Hawthorne fears is fading as kids increasingly learn on 2D screens. Paper Punk kits sell online
for $18.95; currently, only three versions are available, but a range of new designs should emerge soon given the recent fundraising success.
Dry the River 3D Horses
: To promote the latest single from up-and-coming UK band Dry the River
, creative directors Phil Clandillon
and Steve Milbourne
set out to design a poster that would grab attention on the cluttered streets of London. The resulting “posters” are actually paper sculptures, featuring 3D horses
that project from building facades as if in mid-gallop. Opting not to make use of uber-trendy 3D printing technology
, the designers instead utilized 3D modeling platform Google SketchUp
to draft their plans, ultimately assembling each sculpture by hand. An artfully made video
captures intern Xavier Barrade at work, pedestrians’ responses to the finished product, and “No Rest
,” the single for which the promotional sculptures were created.