Specialised in the creation of ephemeral worlds using paper as the medium, which are pragmatic as well as timeless, Wanda Barcelona borrows from design as well as ancient tradition of origami. Their designs fashions magical atmospheres where perspective is invariably subverted.
Paper is a very unassuming material for construction. Yet many architects and designers have used it as an innovative medium for bringing out fabulous and mesmerizing designs. Take for example, the well-known Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, who has demonstrated through his projects that paper can be strong and lasting.
Wanda Barcelona, is a design studio specialised in creating magical experiences using paper. They create fully immersive paper worlds by constantly crafting outstanding visions with passion, elegance and a touch of wonder. Borrowing from, both the design and the ancient tradition of origami, their work, which is pragmatic as well as timeless, takes us on a journey through magical atmospheres, where perspective is invariably subverted. “Our design philosophy rescues artisan work and the power of the human hands to produce beauty. We work with, and use new technologies but only to enhance and magnify our true passion: craftsmanship. We try to be as respectful with the environment as we can, we guarantee to close the recycle circle when it´s in our hands and always look for in site working hands to reduce the ecological impact”, says the team of Wanda Barcelona.
Each member of the Barcelona-based trio brings a different and complementary skill to their art: Inti Velez Botero, the architect, is in charge of making spaces that Daniel Mancini, the designer, fills with unique objects while Iris Joval, the artist in the family, surprises with subtle tickles up your spine. This dynamic mix of talents gives rise to truly superb projects which fuse classical aesthetics with avant-garde approaches, tradition with innovation, ‘minimalism with a maximalist profusion of different effects’. They design and they build spaces. To do so, they use traditional techniques adapted to the new state-of the art-technologies of our time with the studio’s trademark style: the use of paper and cardboard – in all shapes, sizes and formats. In Inti’s words, “If we don´t design we explode, creativity is our soul´s food and paper is our chosen language. Our passion is the constant search for beauty.”
Since 2012, Wanda Barcelona has been the design group behind the hyperreal paper flowers and plants at Dior exhibitions and events around the world. We are presenting two of their recent commissions where Wanda Barcelona team has crafted mesmerizing paper impressions.
Christian Dior Couturier des reves Expo – “Les Invations”
Christian Dior once said: ‘After women, flowers are the most divine creations’. The French couturier was also a passionate horticulturist and – much like an impressionist painter from the 19th century – his garden was his muse and a favourite spot to design his collections. The flowers so cherished by Dior became inspiration for the 70th anniversary of the brand. Wanda Barcelona created an impressive retrospective lush paper garden to exhibit all the dreamy dresses inspired by flowers and gardens – ever seen in the fashion world to honour this special occasion at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. As seen in countless bouquet gowns and underskirts embroidered with flowers or arranged to resemble roses, floral designs formed the basis of this mesmerising installation.
Entitled “Les Invations” or The Invasions, the installation is made entirely of paper and features an assemblage of climbing vines, cascading clematises and sprays of lilies, all bright white in colour. Enormous hanging wisteria wines, impressive climbing clematis donning 4500 flowers, extensive colonies of lily of the valley and thousands of creeping Jennies are suspended elegantly over the dresses. An entire room is dedicated to Miss Dior, packed with luxuriant rose bushes blooming with more than 5000 roses – all handmade by 10 people in downtown Barcelona over a period of 4 months.
The Hanging gardens and the Drupa cube, Dusseldorf
The Drupa cube is the meeting point of all visitors in the most important printing trade fair in the world: Drupa. The Drupa Cube is the biggest wall and art display of the entire fair space. For this the Wanda Barcelona team created a six-layer façade that showed the six-theme concept of the fair, each with a different colour creating most enormous and powerful Wisteria plant in 3,600 paper panels. This facade actually was the graphical explanation of the hanging gardens that were hang in the entrance hall.
The main entrance hall in Drupa is a magnificent crystal dome. The team designed and crafted a vast floating wisteria garden to greet and delight visitors. Almost 300 square meters and more than 8,880 Wisteria flowers hanging from a crystal vault over the visitor´s heads creating a magical game of light and shadows that surrounded the environment with an unique ambience.
Wanda Barcelona’s art plays with spaces, objects and sensations. Whether creating fully immersive paper worlds or intriguing origami-style objects, Wanda Barcelona is constantly crafting outstanding visions with passion, elegance and a touch of wonder. “Design is the perfect balance between art and science. A good design cannot exist without a rigorous scientific way or organization and thinking and no design can awake an emotion if it’s not charged with art”, concludes Inti.