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The benefit of pulp in interior design

The credit for inventing paper was gained by the Chinese during the Han dynasty of 2nd century AD which was later developed into papier mache pulp. In the due course of time the technique of making papier mache pulp spread to Morocco and in the 10th century it spread to France and Germany.

Italians also acquired the knowledge of this technique and from Italy it spread to India and Persia.The art of papier mache was ushered into India during the rule of Mughal dynasty and has retained its popularity even today. Papier mache is still being practised by a lot of craftsmen all over India. Today India is one of the largest importers of paper. Data suggests that of the 1.50 million tonnes of newspaper and magazines collected by hawkers, only 23% reaches recycling mills.

Kashmir is famous for its paper mache boxes. The first paper industry developed in Kashmir was established by Sultan Zain-ul-Abedin in 1417-67 AD after he returned from detention in Samarkand. He brought along artisans of various skills to develop crafts and introduce new trades in India. Source

Papier mache objects are utilised for household activities and many are also used for decorative purposes. Successful experiments have been made with replicas of famous temples, forts etc in paper mache. The original term ‘papier mache’ means crunched paper. It is also used for objects that are made from different types of paper construction including paper pulp, paper strips and paper sheets.

The paper pulp composite is usually composed of pulped or mashed paper pieces, reinforced with fabric, bound with an adhesive such as glue or starch. The material is quite versatile, and it’s sustainable, too (typically, the paper used is leftover scraps).This humble pulp transforms into a beautiful surface full of potential—like clay, but without a kiln.

There are many modern adaptations of paper mache found in our everyday lives. Wallboard used to build walls, MDF, and particle board, used in furniture and smaller items like clipboards are created by compressing fibres and binding them together into panels. Even food cartons use card stock created by moulded paper fibres. Source

Pulp factory is a design studio, nestled in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Set up in 2017, Pulp Factory is run by Spriha Chokhani and her four-member team who she has trained over time. The studio is born to integrate new design thinking with traditional art and craft forms around the world. Pulp Factory resonates Responsible design. The studio believes in making the process and product non toxic by using natural adhesives, non voc varnishes and colours. Paper is the cornerstone of the studio, when juxtaposed with other material it exercises rethinking of the “old-new material”. All products are diligently and carefully handcrafted by the artist, into individual unique pieces.

An important initiative that Pulp Factory looks to further is that of making the best out of newspaper waste. Out of the total newspaper waste produced on a daily basis, only 2 million tonnes make it to the waste paper-based mills. 6.5 million becomes a part of the unorganised segregation system. Emphasising the ideology of form follows function, Pulp Factory looks carefully at the social structure and economy of the Indian market. The main source of raw material is the waste paper pulp sourced from local scrap dealers. It follows a system of 3 “Re’s”: Restoration, Reinstation, Reestablishment.

Spriha makes sure all the products that are produced by the company resonate responsible design. Source

It is a misconception that papier-mache is fragile. We have seen masks made out of it which give us this idea. But these masks are made by mixing the pulp with Multani mitti and thus it loses the strength. This is cellulose which in itself is a strong medium and it gets stronger when you mix it with adhesives. The startup makes sturdy and water-resistant furniture like tables and stools from waste paper pulp. The paper waste is first converted to pulp, after which a plant based glue binds it together making it water resistant.

An oil and wax combination forms the mix of the base, sometimes with the addition of lac or lime. The base is pure and raw highlighting the virality of paper. This furniture can resist up to 200 kgs. Each piece of furniture in her collection is upcycled from at least five to eight kilograms of waste paper and takes almost 25 days to be made. You’ll find yourself choosing from a range of earthy, rustic colours in chairs, shelves, and table stools among other furniture.

 Each piece of furniture is made using around 8 Kgs of waste paper. Source

 In an age where sustainability needs to be a part of our daily lives, Pulp Factory helps us bring it into our living rooms. Drawing an intersection between environmental responsibility and design reminds us just how important it is to be smart about our aesthetic. The aim of the studio is to bring back paper mache into mainstream product lines. The studio is currently experimenting with making newer accessories with the paper fabric.

  Spriha takes the concept of upcycling a step further by creating bags and other products made from paper yarn. Source


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