De Monsterkamer

Laura Pappa about paper

What is your favourite paper, why?
I’m very motivated to say I don’t have favorite – paper can be a favorite one in relation to a project but not really as a thing in itself. Having said that, I do very much like papers with texture. Texture gives paper character and a kind of sophistication. I also like relatively bulky paper…

I like papers with a very distinct character, meaning that I’m not necessarily very keen on different types of one kind of paper, but I’m rather interested in the combination of different papers in relation to each other.


The Big Picture, Raphael Julliard. Villa du Parc, Sémiose éditions, JAWS. Artist’s book. Photos: Rebecca Bowing.

Could you give an example of a design you created where paper played a special or crucial role?
Years ago I was working for ArtEZ Press on a book called Inventing Futures – it was an anniversary book for 10 years of the Masters studies and research in choreography. The book departs from five key terms: latency, constraint, collaboration, failure and trust. Inside the book three different papers with different tactilities and characters randomly alternate, occasionally switching between surfaces. The papers used in the book are Munken Polar Rough 90 g/m2 The uncoated, extra tactile surface of Munken Polar Rough and its crisp white shade make a perfect combination for well-defined images and even more of a natural paper feel. , G-Print 90 g/m2 G-Print is a woodfree coated paper with great properties such as high bulk, stiffness and opacity. Its versatility makes it suitable for most standard print jobs. There are five applications in particular where G-Print performs very well: maps, books, magazines, direct mailings and posters. and Hello Gloss 90 g/m2 Hello Gloss has a vibrant high white, high gloss surface for the finest image detail. .


Inventing Futures. Gaby Allard, Emilie Gallier, Konstantina Georgelou, João da Silva and many others. ArtEZ Press


Inventing Futures


Inventing Futures

How important is the choice of paper in your design work? Do you spend a lot of time picking the paper?
I never begin from the paper or form for that matter but rather start with visual aspects and then try to fit it to a suitable form. That doesn’t mean form is not important to me though, quite the opposite. But somehow all my formal decisions need to be preceded by a coherent idea for whatever needs to go on that form, or on that paper. Even though the paper often comes the last in this process, needless to say paper definitely defines a project in a very substantial manner.

Can you point out work by another designer that you appreciate when it comes to the paper choice?
I’ve always liked how Karel Martens talks about paper. He can get so extremely excited about it. I know there’s a few that he’s set his mind on and is keen on using them over and over again. But I really enjoy his specificity and that strictness – he for instance rarely uses coated paper inside a book. His books always have a very strong physical appeal due to the selection of material. In general his ways of working are really different from mine but that doesn’t mean I don’t like his approach, quite the opposite – I enjoy it on the one hand because he is so passionate about it as well as because he just masters his techniques so skilfully.


It’s like hammering into nothing when I speak it… k.g. Guttman in conversation with Nancy Ring. Self-published. Photos: Sanne Kabalt.


It’s like hammering into nothing when I speak it… k.g. Guttman

Do you think there are any gaps in the current paper market for designers?
Paper and samples are relatively accessible but the pricing doesn’t seem transparent enough. You always need to go first to the publisher or printer to figure out what’s affordable. It makes the process more complicated and long-winding. I suppose that’s something that comes with time though – but then again there’s so many around that it’s not like you’ll have the possibilities to try out every single one of them.

What is your biggest frustration when it comes to paper?
Whenever I want to take notes there’s none around (and I have a very bad memory!).

Do you find it easy/difficult to find information about paper, to get paper samples and/or collections?
As long as De Monsterkamer is around… I also find it very important to have a substantial collection available at the studio. It helps to develop the paper selection for a project in parallel with the layout and everything else that goes with it.

How do you see the future of paper?
I imagine there will be many more synthetic papers around very soon. Transparent paper? Sun-powered paper? Self-destructive paper? Paper that talks? Who knows – I’m curious.

Interview by De Monsterkamer with Laura Pappa