Papier Machine materializes and demystifies electronics. Can you elaborate?
MARION PINAFFO: We wanted to demonstrate that behind the magic of today’s electronic devices is a hidden world of materials, forms and even smells. The project arose from our attempt to re-create the components of such gadgets on paper. Using basic paper compositions, we developed the concept for Papier Machine, a booklet containing a dozen electronic toys made of paper – to be cut, coloured, assembled or torn. Papier Machine is a response to the growing complexity and apparent mysticism of technology; we felt it was essential to highlight the tangible properties of intricate electronic systems.
Should technology be hidden from view or shown off?
Our modern objects are animated by forces that many of us don’t understand. It’s these ‘alien’ forces that give monolithic phones, for example, their appeal and allure. Besides making technology more accessible and understandable, design has a role to play in exposing and questioning it.
Why did you choose a print format for Papier Machine?
The printing process allowed us to both magnify and free a gadget’s tiny components from their ‘black box’ and turn them into something malleable. The booklet deflates their enigmatic allure and makes them more accessible.
Some say print is dead. What can be done to enhance printed media?
I don’t think print will ever die. Unlike its digital counterparts, print encourages us to put quality over quantity. Just because you work with traditional media doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a high level of interaction. On the contrary. There are plenty of ways to encourage physical engagement with print – we play with ink, paper weight, size and texture.
Papier Machine targets children. Why is it important to educate young people about design?
Papier Machine is less about teaching kids about design and more about using design as a tool for learning. We attempted to trigger an appetite for discovery in players both young and old.
How might design facilitate learning in the future?
Design has the potential to create seamless learning experiences. I envision educational tools that encourage learning without students or users being aware of the process.
Photo Caroline Dubois