A true paper palace

Paper has many uses and one of the most elegant and sophisticated is shown by the art studio Wanda Barcelona. It created a magical paper palace for an exhibition celebrating the work of iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld. 40,000 pieces of paper cutouts were hung amidst the hand-chosen garments.

Paper has many uses and one of the most elegant and sophisticated is shown by the art studio Wanda Barcelona. Wanda Barcelona created a magical paper palace for an exhibition (until September 2015) celebrating the work of iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld in Bonn, Germany. 40,000 pieces of paper cutouts were hung amidst the hand-chosen garments. The paper appears to erupt out of books placed on the floor, then extends to the ceiling like columns and forms a canopy above.

The exhibition is Wanda Barcelona’s latest work but not the only one: The art studio team with Inti Velez Botero, the architect, Daniel Mancini, the designer and Iris Joval, the artist, has worked for big name clients such as BMW, Dior, Veuve Clicquot, Peugeot, Hermes and many others. In an email interview, Wanda Barcelona’s architect, Inti Velez Botero shares why paper is their medium of choice and how it contributes to making the world a more beautiful inspiring place.

Why do you choose paper and cardboard for your installations? What fascinates you about the material?

Our relationship with paper and cardboard could be described as eternal love. It’s been seven years since we started exploring these materials and we´ve never been disappointed or bored with them. For each project we explore new techniques and beautiful crafts that give paper an ocean of possibilities to work with.

Its noble, light, eco friendly, organic, elegant, what’s not to love about this material? We´re paper geeks, and we´re proud of it.


What was your most interesting project so far? Which ones have received the most attention?

Every project we have feels like giving birth to a newborn, and of course, we love all of our children the same. Every project is interesting in its own way. That being said, there are a couple worth mentioning. “Lady Dior, ass seen by” for instance, the beginning of a beautiful relationship with wonderful Dior.

In that project we had the opportunity to learn how to weave cannage and make a sculpture with it that traveled all around the world accompanied by sculptures created by great artists we admire, such as David Lynch and Nan Golding. And, of course, our latest and biggest project until now, the paper palace we designed and built for Karl Lagerfeld’s exhibition in Germany.

What are some common challenges?

We were never taught anything about paper. Since the beginning all has been trial and error.  We´ve even come up naming our techniques!

We´ve learned how to deal with fire, water and sun.

But among all of the above, the biggest challenge ever is meeting a client that doesn´t know what he wants.

You have many big-name clients. What do they look for when they choose you?

Luxury is one of the few markets in the world that understands and values the artisan work.  Its not about quantity, its all about quality.

They always look for new ideas and new artists to represent their corporate values and their uniqueness.


Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! In nature, books, music, architecture, design, movies and fashion. We´re constantly reading blogs, and browsing Instagram. When you are open its easy to absorb inspiration in the least expected situations.

What characteristics do you look for in the paper and cardboard you are using? 

Every project is different. We work nowadays with four main paper houses around the World, Gmund from Germany, Fedrigoni form Italy, Takeo form Japan and Arjowiggins from France.

This gives us a variety of paper that sometimes is a little bit overwhelming. But we love it, and we manage.

Are you using a special kind of paper? Or special technologies?

We are using all the papers we can! And even though our process of design is 100% manual, when we start the big productions we rely in new technologies that make our job feasible. We also use LED to complement all our installations with light.

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