So Hashizume about paper
What is your favorite paper and why?
It is difficult to pick one specific paper. I like what happens when the paper shapes the form of a book. It becomes another thing.
Could you give an example of a design you created where paper played a special or particularly functional role?
We have made a exhibition about papers and mockups at the Takeo showroom in Tokyo. Mockups are made to look and feel the structure and the volume of the books before the print, but we have never made an archive. We asked designers, artists, and publishers to join the exhibition and to show their mockups. We exhibited 250 mockups for books collected from 50 companies. The exhibition was intended to display abstract information and relationships rather than layout, choice of typography or colors, etc. It was about the structure of the books. We wanted to show their diagrams through mockups. The exhibition was a collaboration with Takeo and it was held at their showroom, although we also exhibited mock-ups using other papers than Takeo. It functioned as a platform for papers that form books.
How important is the choice of paper in your designs? Do you spend a lot of time choosing the paper?
It seems like salt and pepper when I cook. I care about a good mixture of good ingredients and spices but do not really care about how good the spices themselves are.
Could you mention a designer whose paper choice appeals to you?
I think Japanese designers are good at paying attention to the details of books. They use great techniques, and a variety of forms and colours. I cannot really choose a specific book. I like books made during the pre-war period of time, which were hand-made, with Japanese binding, etc.
Is there something missing in the current range of available paper?
There are so many high quality papers in Japan. But sometimes I miss rough papers. In Japan “high quality” means often ” high grade” but cheap rough paper can be of high quality depending on the context. People from the young generation, who are under 40 years old or so, are keen to find a way to use the paper in that context.
It goes a bit off from the question, but the same thing can be said about graphic design. In Japan, there are a lot of good graphic designers who make beautiful layouts or use great techniques. But there are a few people who ask the question “What is graphic design?” Graphic design is not only decorating a surface.
What is your biggest frustration in the field of paper?
It should be more open to everyone, not only for designers and publishers.
Is it difficult or easy for designers in your country to find information on paper, paper samples and/or paper collections?
As I have mentioned before, we can now access a wide variety of information in Japan, we have nice magazines and resources and places to see papers.
How do you see the future of paper?
There is a limitation for paper to contain only information. It might sound optimistic if I say “the future of paper is good”, even if books (papers) can contain emotions, original textures, etc. There are some activities, such as big company collaborating with designers to find out situation/ space where books/ paper have a future.