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Filling the colossal walls of the biggest print and cross-media trade show, Drupa in Dusseldorf would be a difficult prospect for most. Filling these spaces entirely with paper is even more of a challenge. Not for paper design studio Wanda Barcelona. ‘Drupa commissioned us to create two installations for their two most important public spaces inside the fair grounds; the Entrance Hall and the Drupa Cube’ says Daniel Mancini, the group’s founder and designer in charge. The team’s background in architecture, design and art regularly sees them exploit the potential of paper with mesmerising effect. The astonishing results of their installations at Drupa is no exception.
For the Wanda team, the ability to transform Drupa’s space came as a dream project. ‘For the entrance Hall, we designed and built an impressive Wisteria floating garden. 40,000 pendulous racemes created by more than a million flowers suspended elegantly under a crystal dome that bathed our sculpture with mesmerising light, changing it´s hue across the day’ explains Daniel. The team’s artistic inspiration arose early on. The strong Japanese influence over the city of Dusseldorf materialised into an immersive experience interpreting the light, floral beauty of Japanese gardens. The resulting ethereal wonder of the gossamer structure created a breathtaking display for visitors.
Wanda’s creative freedom had further reign in the Drupa Cube. ‘We created two colossal walls made out of 3,400 pendant papers, each one unique, with wisteria laser-cut branches forming six vast climbing vines’, continues Daniel; “ We used white paper and printed over one of its sides using the 6 Drupa colours, which were visible through the cut-out flowers. Each wall was 27 meters long and 8 meters high. 3,400 individually unique pendant papers created two walls measuring 27 meters long and 8 meters high.’ The artworks reflect Wanda’s signature approach of combining traditional artisanal skills with innovative new technologies.
The installation emerged as Wanda’s largest scale project to date and required the team to deliver ‘something humongous, mesmerising and blissful—with hints of spring. After over a year of meticulous planning, making and creating, the practical reality of such large scale work saw the team delve into new skills. A fear of heights was not an option for the Wanda team. ‘The eight of us who went to Dusseldorf had to take a course on driving construction cranes and get a diploma to be able to work at such heights. It was definitely an exciting and challenging project as we spent weeks designing the structure. Paper is a very light material, but as we were working with a conspicuous amount of paper, the total weight of the installation became significant, and we had to put extra attention into supporting such weight using beautiful and almost imperceptible structures.’ Combining the ephemerality of paper with expert prowess, Wanda’s blissful oasis offered Drupa visitors an escape into a world where the chimeric potential of paper took full flight.