Pranil Chandra December 21, 2023
Using flowers and foliage to dress a display or take the lead as a centrepiece always looks impressive. Not a new concept, designers have long since known how using natural greenery is an effective way to achieve a genuine vibe for their window or tabletop display.
Yet as beautiful as they are, flowers are messy to work with and have such a short life span, difficult to use in displays designed for the long haul. Likely, this is where good old plastic foliage originally stepped in to help with a solution that would easily last for the duration of a display. Last, it would – so much so that disposing of it became the next issue. And in a world becoming ever-more eco-conscious, plastic purely for aesthetics will not win the war.
Thank heavens for paper!
Today’s article looks at innovative, environmentally friendly, artistic paper installations and how they are revolutionising displays – including a particular favourite of ours, where team NEXT became ensconced in a fantasy of floral finesse. Read on!
Paper has to be one of the most incredulous inventions ever – what would we do without the stuff? A display designer’s dream, surely, ready to turn itself into just about anything, in any shape, size or colour. It lasts, and when we are all ready to part with it, disposing of paper could not be easier.
It’s no wonder plants have become a piece to master using paper. A way to create stunning displays that look real without the mess of a living organism that quickly deteriorates to matter. Of course, fabric flowers have done their best to imitate natural foliage, yet they simply cannot match paper when it comes to being green-friendly and come with recycling issues. Time to leave the fabric carnations for suit jacket button-holes and make way for eco-conscious floral arrangements using paper!
Look around the world – as we creative types admit to regularly doing for next-big-thing kinds of inspo – and you’ll find lots of wonderful ways with paper. Certainly, paper turned into foliage is quite the done thing for retail displays and has been for some time. And you can expect jaw-dropping results, too – see what Belgian company Mio achieved with their giant flower installation for customer Purobia Cosmetics.
Back in planet Australia, more brands want to approach their displays similarly using fake foliage produced sustainably to meet their eco commitments.
Our customer, the highly awarded spirits distiller Archie Rose, recently became the latest to join the party and choose sustainable paper flowers for their installations. Having only worked with fabric flowers before, they needed support from a team of creative experts with a background in sustainable and immersive activations using paper – and the team at NEXT was only too keen to connect the dots!
The marketing team at Archie Rose had long been using fake foliage in their displays. During PRIDE week, they intended to use plastic and silk-based flowers as part of their campaign but found themselves limited in colours and shape. More importantly, both plastic and silk are harmful to our environment, which no longer aligns with their values – not to mention the ethical dilemma of silk production and the thousands of silkworms harmed in the process. Paper flowers provided the solution for more choice of colours and shapes, and as a recyclable material, it would give the customer’s eco-friendly values a huge boost.
Together, our creative teams began brainstorming the paper installation.
While the flower theme remained intact, each would be produced from paper instead of fabric. Having worked extensively with paper over the years, NEXT suggested using high-quality craft paper for optimum choice in colours and a flexible yet durable material. Rather than replicate real flowers, these would be more striking, larger than standard flowers and with longer, accentuated leaves and petals to make a statement. The colours would come from the brand palate and additional shades inspired by the PRIDE campaign theme.
At its end of life, the flowers would go through regular waste paper recycling streams.
With the installation concept nailed, it was time for the talented artists from NEXT Printing to work their magic! Applying their extensive knowledge and expertise in paper artistry – not to mention their passion for creating incredible and immersive artwork – the team designed each unique flower that would feature in the customer’s eco-friendly floral display. Like Archie Rose, the artists from NEXT are dedicated to sustainability and were able to keep the customer’s green objectives in mind throughout the project.
Crafting paper flowers is an intricate process and involves incredible creativity, patience and attention to detail. Of course, before any crafting begins comes the paper, coating and colour selection. Our artists chose to work with Colorplan by G F Smith, a high-quality uncoated crafting paper produced in the UK and available in fifty-five colours. By selecting the right colours, the team also eliminated the need for printing – resulting in another energy-saving opportunity.
To ensure the success of each paper flower, the pattern was drawn onto paper and then cut by hand, glued and shaped using a curling rod. Once the concept was approved, all the paper was cut on our automatic cutting table to ensure precision and speed. The flowers were then hand-glued onto black Re-board®, ensuring each component used in the production process was a paper-based, environmentally friendly product.
Without question, using paper for their installation allowed Archie Rose to go above and beyond the limitations of fabric flowers they had grown accustomed to. With an abundance of colour and creativity at their fingertips, their marketing team had the power to achieve an installation greater and greener than previous ones.
The real success of this concept piece lies in the sustainability. The environmental benefits of using paper over fabric flowers – reduced waste, biodegradability and recyclability – allow brands like Archie Rose to meet their commitment to sustainability without compromising on creativity.
As you can see, the potential of paper installations in retail displays, pop-up activations and exhibitions is enormous – not only in the floral industry but at any type of event in any sector where creative teams want to use flowers as a centrepiece or supporting décor.
As a concept art piece, the collaboration between Archie Rose and NEXT Printing highlights the possibilities with paper and immersive pop-up activations. This eco-friendly, customisable and flexible material makes striking floral displays with less rigidity and more sustainability than fabric, offering endless possibilities for unique and eco-conscious designs.
Now is the time for brands to complete the transformation from plastic to paper. Are you ready?
Do you want to make your move towards eco-friendly, immersive displays that deliver sustainability and sales results?
Arrange a chat with the NEXT Printing paper artists about how we can take your displays to a new level, using handcrafted paper designs to win business while winning the war against waste.
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