Dior, Hermès, Louis Vuitton or concept store Colette have fallen at their feet. Wanda Barcelona, a studio design specializing in paper and cardboard installations, real origami wonders taken a step further. This kind of millimeter craftsmanship is the works of architect Inti Vélez, designer Daniel Mancini and artist Iris Joval. We spoke to Inti, one of the thirds of this company that claims the role of paper as a 100% art form?
Wanda has worked for brands such as Dior, Hermès, Louis Vuitton or Colette
Wanda is a company that works around the world but was born in Barcelona. How did you project come about?
One day I was having a drink with my friend Aida and, as we talked, I used to do origami. She was working in event production agency and told me she had to do something related to paper. It seemed somewhat anecdotal back then, but now this is what we do.
How did the project develop?
When Daniel and I met many years ago we were fascinated with paper. We don’t really know how but projects started coming up using paper and cardboard only. I was working as a visual merchandiser for Biosca & Botey and he was working as a waiter while he was studying design. When we finished work, we used to meet at my place to produce the orders for our first customers, among which were the Grupo Tragaluz, for which we did Christmas decoration, Casa Viva or B & B Italia. Iris came in the team later on. She worked with Daniel on a project at Massana. She worked with us in one of our projects and she stayed.
Weren’t you afraid to typecast as something very specific?
Yes, in fact we tried find other kind of projects to avoid stagnation, until we realized that specializing in the paper is what has made ??us strong.
What was the project that allowed you to take the leap and leave the rest?
It was thanks to the Barceló Raval. We signed a contract that allowed us to become independent. We made several cardboard sculptures and a video installation for the restaurant. After this, I don’t think we’ve had small projects anymore?
Is there one you feel particularly fond of?
Mmm… Yes. The Spanish Trade Development office chose us to represent the country in the New York Design Fair. We made a big fan made with 40 objects representing Spanish design, from example some of the Jaime Hayon pieces for Lladró.
“We recently commissioned with a project for the Cristian Dior Gardens in Japan, an exhibition showing photos and Dior jewelry”
How long does it take to finish a project?
It’s one month designing the project, two weeks for pre-production, one for pre-assembly and the night before setting the whole thing on-site. We have our own team of three people and up to 20.
You work especially for luxury brands, are they only ones that understand this craft?
Today there are two production methods, made ??in China or local / craft. The only people who understand the second are luxury brands. They’ve have always treated us as paper artists.
Tell us a couple of recent projects for luxury brands to understand what you’re saying?
We recently commissioned with a project for the Cristian Dior Gardens in Japan, an exhibition showing photos and Dior jewelry. We created the stenography. We have also made their jeweler window displays worldwide. Quite recently we also did the launch of the new Hermès tableware for boutiques around the world.
How does such a traditional process translate into time?
We need to measure the stores one by one as they are never two alike. We send the project with instructions and they set it up there.
Artisan is also local?
Yes, it’s usually like that. We do all the handmade process ourselves and if we can buy what we need in a stationery store at the Raval we don’t go to Sarrià. Now we are taking advantage of the benefits of being known. They used to not pay attention to us, but now if we need certain kind of gold paper manufactured in Germany or another special one in Japan, they send it to us because they already know who we are.
We know a musician you can influence another artist and a photographer the work of another one. But in the case of origami, what references do you have?
We’re influenced by everyday life, by what happens in the world of fashion, in music trends… We try to read blogs every day, and if they’re about Scandinavian design even better. As for artists working with paper, we love Julian Vallñée (Montreal) long before we started with this. James Turell or Olafur Eliasson are also great.
Your favourite hotspots are?
El Raval in general, where our studio is located, and the Ciutadella Park.
You can’t stop listening to?
Fluorescent tubes and production in China.
You never thought you’d end up?
Living off paper