A Paper Trail to Innovation

December 05, 2017

Colorful many origami paper

We talk a lot about cardboard here on the Ernest Buzz. Whether it’s our own Cardboard Chaos series or functional corrugated lamps, there’s no shortage of innovators pushing the boundary of what cardboard can do. It’s often easy to forget that cardboard is nothing more than heavy-duty paper, and it’s about time its lighter-weight brother got its share of the innovation spotlight!

Artist Haruki Nakamura creates some amazing sculptures. At a glance, they simply look like intricate works of art, but with the spin of a dial, the sculptures begin to rotate like gears. The secret behind this interactive art? Only paper! Well, that and a boatload of design work and engineering!

Nakamura uses a piece of software to design each individual piece that will fit together into the overall sculpture. From there he prints, measures, cuts and glues sheets of paper into geometric shapes that look like gears. With a little bit of assembly, the oddly shaped parts come together to form a gyrating masterpiece!

Japanese artists have been using paper to form beautiful works since the 6th century, when the art of origami was born. Special paper called kami is used for its lightweight, thin properties, which allow intricate folds. Sturdier origami comes from varying the weight of the kami paper, just like we choose certain grades and strengths of corrugated to suit different packages!

No matter what the thickness you choose to use, paper is a great option for packaging. It’s lightweight, durable and best of all, it’s a completely recyclable and renewable resource. We’re clearly not alone in being inspired by paper, as Nakamura and his ancient predecessors have shown!

For a material as tightly woven into our society as paper, we’re always excited to see artists try daring stunts with our favorite packaging materials. After all, we’re daredevils of innovation ourselves! In fact, we value pushing the boundaries of design and engineering so much we have a whole team of experts who do it every day. Give us a call to see what they can do for you!