Roving reporter Emilie spoke to sculptor and designer Poppy Lawman from her studio in Oslo, Norway. The creation of her Papirstein Chair was inspired by spruce trees found in the coniferous forests of Norway near her home.
I’m always exploring new ways of making objects that are both functional and sculptural - ones that you can enjoy in and out of use.
I think Scandinavian design, and this idea of minimalism, often allows materials to speak. Louder perhaps than in other places where the object may be so busy in itself it doesn't let the material express. Or it doesn’t allow for a story to come through.
It's important to let the material have a bit of time to evolve in itself. I can have one idea of what I might want to make the material into but the material might have an even better idea. It may sound a bit weird to say this.
As a maker I can only imagine so much. Yet once I start using the material lots of things happen that are purely accidental. You follow one thread to the next thread and onto the next and suddenly you have something you could never have imagined before. Creatively, it's much more interesting.
Pure Circular design
If you're making physical objects in this day and age, you have to really think carefully about what you're adding to the earth. I try to make biodegradable products that can 100% go back into the earth and become nutrients to replenish it. So that whatever happens at the end of these products’ lifecycle they will biodegrade and not have a lasting negative effect as waste.
As designers we can counteract today’s throwaway society by our responsible choices of materials and processes.
I believe that by adopting a circular economy we can avoid creating further waste and pollution by making things that can last. Fewer objects but ones we can truly connect to that enrich our lives.
100% biodegradable paper pulp
I’ve been making various objects from spruce paper pulp in collaboration with a century-old paper mill in Hokksund, Norway. Hellefoss Paper sources all their spruce from within a 60-kilometer radius of the mill. Powered by hydro their processes produce pure paper pulp. They are fantastic.
In Norway trees are very well protected. The export of wood and paper pulp is part of the history of this country. They were the main pulp providers in the world. 100 years ago Norway had almost depleted their forests. Then people realized they might be running out of future materials. So in comparison to other countries whose forests are being ravaged, Norway put in strict and responsible forestry rules to guard these precious resources. As spruce trees are very fast growing, today not even half of what is grown every year is harvested.
I get to work with a material that not only connects us back to the history of this place, but also exits in my immediate surroundings and is 100% biodegradable.
Poppy speaks inspired by planet earth
The Papirstein Chair
The Papirstein chair (paper stone) is made with compressed spruce paper pulp. The material is recyclable, degradable, and renewable. The long grains and fibres of the Spruce tree are incredibly versatile and have a surprising strength. They can be easily interlocked and compressed to create a strong and moldable material, one that can find its way into various shapes.
The method I use is high compression, a technique commonly employed for packaging purposes. So I’m taking this process and using it in a new way. It’s a circular approach to the creation of enviro-positive furniture.
With this chair I wanted to create something that could honour and celebrate the versatility of the Spruce tree. Something that would connect us back to the forests and the gentle green giants that quietly protect and support our planet.
The Papirstein Chair was created by
Poppy Lawman whose slow design offerings also include sculptural objects that help us to “re-imagine the hand-washing experience.” She loves walking around the area where she lives. “I can walk up to the forest or walk down to the sea from my house.”
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Poppy was invited by Emilie Mai after Emilie met Poppy’s mother on a Cornish beach in England in November as she was taking a cold water swim.
⤷ What’s next
Emilie would love to see Poppy’s studio in person and interview other young Nordic designers. “Oslo is an absolute dream destination for me. I’ve always wanted to go.”
Cover photo edited. Original by Poppy Lawman Studio.