From handmade paper to author invitations to the (creative) relaunch of stationeries and newsstands. There are numerous initiatives that respond to the need to focus attention on paper so as not to get lost in the mare magnum of the web

We are hyper connected, bombarded by a constant barrage of notifications, information and communications of all kinds (and credibility). If internet allows us to enjoy a potentially infinite universe of options - of knowledge, study, choice - the feeling returned, in addition to the enthusiasm for the countless possibilities available, is fatigue: the effort of pruning a world (literally) at hand, the effort of selection.

From the verification of the sources, to the identification of the contents that really meet our needs, the possibility of an infinite search (which potentially could never end as it is always perfectible ) can create disorientation . And mental fatigue.

Dike (excessive) choice 

The many, many possibilities make available to anyone a great, very great knowledge and augmentative wealth, but at the same time they can lead to frustration: of not being able to sift through them all, of not having calibrated the research in the best possible way, of being able to regret the discarded options, thus generating dissatisfaction.

Too many options can make the choice process too costly in terms of energy for the benefits gained. The mind needs concentration, whitespace (literally), to focus on one - only - what - at - time. Disconnected from disturbing notifications.

Here, then, is back to paper . We found a series of initiatives related to design, art and fashion that associate a concrete need, physical and mental, with nostalgic vintage echoes.

Concentration, without notifications : indulge in the pleasure of reading and writing (by hand) 

If the need is to have (few) reassuring certainties, the thought can only go back to the times of school, beautiful writing lessons and the subsidiary. To the pleasure of writing - by hand - and leafing through books as if they were precious chests, repositories of imaginative maps, possibly of the treasure.

The Gucci Cartoleria, a reinterpretation of the wonders of the classic Italian stationery staged in the boutique of the Florentine maison from 5 to 17 September 2021 during the Milan Design Week. The cultured and eclectic creativity, never banal, of the creative director Alessandro Michele made you want to go back to school to be able to choose notebooks, pencil cases, pens and colored crayons (designer) or even just for take refuge in this miniature wunderkammer.

The must-read design published by Electa

The book-object paints stories retractable

The Fore-edge Painting exhibition, at Macro - Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome until 23 January 2022, gives an unexpected, almost fairytale-like artistic connotation to all book-object. Eight international artists were invited to freely confront the ancient tradition of decorating the cutting of books (fore-edge) with paintings and illustrations.

The result is surprising hybrid works, also exhibited in the evocative Drawing Room of the Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max Planck Institute for History. Volumes that tell painted stories 'retractable': secret paintings that appear only by tilting the pages. Floral decorations, landscapes, repertoire or erotic scenes made by folding the pages of books in a fan shape and then often gilding the cut to hide them.

Read also: Macro, a museum to browse

New generations and ancient habits, between digital and analog

Using contemporary technologies to write a message in beautiful handwriting. Take time - slowness - to savor every gesture, both for those who send it and for those who receive it. And wait, a sign, an answer.

With the service Pineider Express, the brand fiorentino offers the possibility to send, through its website, letters entirely personalized handwritten. A form of communication linked to handcrafted products that enhances the tools that have always allowed humans to communicate remotely.

Read also: Newsletters that work

You can choose the type of paper and the format, the special or classic version, with a smooth filigree, frayed or clean cut texture, for then select the color of the sheet and ink and finally match the lined, watermarked and personalized dry envelopes. Once the message has been sent, the Pineider calligraphers will transcribe it on the card in elegant English italics, together with the recipient on the envelope. Shipping and postage are included in the service.

Read also: a photographer, seven shots, seven writers and seven actors united in an epistolary project

Focus on one thing at a time: the slowness of artisanal processes

If a greater number of available options leads to greater difficulty in making a choice and too many - constant, pounding - stimuli generate confusion, the solution may be to stop (breathe) and learn ancient practices: slow and wise gestures that occupy the hands and free the mind . How to make paper by hand. Material, imperfect, wonderful.

Apple Paper Museum: learn the wise and patient gestures to make paper by hand

The Apple Paper Museum of Genoa is located in the ancient paper mill Piccardo, built in 1756 and active until 1985. Now, in the rooms of the factory, you can take and follow the path that they made rags of vegetable fiber and waste paper to become new paper. By hand, sheet by sheet, with care, perseverance and patience.

The museum houses the first exclusively artisan paper production workshop in Liguria and a bookshop dedicated to the direct sale of the artefacts. Vintage machinery perfectly preserved and multimedia paths accompany the visitor in an engaging way in all phases of paper production. The website of the Apple Paper Museum  explains and illustrated, step by step, the ' fascinating process of making handmade paper.

Newsstands are back in fashion, in a total look version

An archive of images, texts, drawings, signs, graphics and stylistic alphabets to photograph recent history presented (also) in a series of newsstands and bookstores, total look Valentino obviously.

For the editorial project Valentino VLogo Signature Vol. II, the second edition of the maison's artbook involving 26 independent international newspapers called to interpret the Valentino logo, the creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has thought of a series of 'analogue' initiatives around the world (Milan, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Seoul) among which the Milanese newsstands stand out of via dei Giardini, on the occasion of Milan Design Week, of Corso Genova and that of San Lorenzo in Lucina in Rome.

Read here: the newsstand saved in Largo Treves in Milan

Invitations from author who are themselves art works

If today we have e-mail boxes clogged with digital Save the Date, once the invitations to exhibitions and vernissages, fashion shows and events were paper. And it was very studied, from the graphics to the choice of format and paper, designed to surprise, attract and remain in the memory. A hymn to creativity and physicality .

On the occasion of Milan Design Week 2021, Paper & People  hosted The Creativity of the Ephemeral, an exhibition of invitations to design events and fashion, in paper and cardboard, collected from the 1980s to today, preserved with the care and passion of a collector, by Patrizia Scarzella, Ines Paolucci and Silvia Motta.

The splendid frescoed rooms of Palazzo Monti, an artistic project housed in a historic residence in Brescia, exhibit until November 13 Invito a Palazzo, a exhibition in collaboration with L'Arengario Studio Bibliografico which presents for the first time a collection of some the most significant artist invitations . 99 between postcards, posters and playbills conceived with a communicative purpose, but which, following the creative process of the artists (including Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Alighiero Boetti, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman and Sol Lewitt), have become works of art themselves.

An exhibition in postcard format to touch the immediate future

A global overview of architecture today in all its facets returned in the form of a postcard. A vintage format to show current and future creative outcomes.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of USI-Academy of Architecture of Mendrisio, l 'association AMA-Accademia Mendrisio Alumni , at Palazzo Canavée in Mendrisio (Switzerland) until November 7, 2021 , presents Postcards from the Immediate Future , a collective exhibition of over 2400 alumni from 60 countries around the world.

Everyone was invited to contribute with an image that best represented their professional career : a completed building, a design object, a photograph, a drawing, a book, a model. The images received by the more than 300 participants were then printed on over 30,000 postcards that visitors to the exhibition can look at - but also choose and bring with you - within a modular set-up specially designed to form a kaleidoscopic series of 'windows' from which to throw a look at the life and works of former students.

Printed paper: very high quality, of contents but also of workmanship

To handle, caress, smell, admire, even cut: the books published Italo Svevo are precious objects, to be opened, page by page, with the letter opener. Carrier of that intellectual energy that has always characterized the tradition of the city of Svevo, Trieste, the publishing house stands out for the care, of the contents it proposes but also of the invoice of the 'container', and for the coherence stylistic.

White spaces (with a high degree of tactility) to relax body and mind

The Trieste publishing house offers a single paperback format with a paperback cover with long flaps and a recognizable font. From the (tactile) quality of the paper to the thread binding, from the wide margins and white spaces that give back an airy layout, up to the side cuts of the uncut pages, every Italo Svevo book gives a reading experience linked in an essential way to the use of what turns out to be a real precious object.

This is how the reader abstracts from disturbing notifications to be catapulted into a novel, in fact, set in another era, cultured and very elegant. One - only - thing - at - a time. Fully.

Very few options, super selected, (therefore) super exclusive

In a world increasingly stimulated but also disoriented, stressed by the hyper connection and by the attention increasingly elusive, competence is back as the protagonist: trust those who know.

So if the influencers most requested by niche brands are those who actively involve their followers, not based on the number of likes but on loyalty, you feel the need (physical) to sit down and open a book, a magazine or a well-kept catalog: from large photographs and airy texts framed by white spaces (large and relaxing) that do not include digital notifications but not too many micro - texts that seem to emulate them on paper.

Publications offering a limited number of options, the result of a competent, wise and targeted choice that emphasizes their importance. And enjoy them. Period.

Writing like the teachers, for a slower and more conscious rhythm (of life)

For those who love dexterity, the fluid and calibrated gesture of writing and 'done well Italian' there are the new collections P di Pigna, a brand dedicated to the premium stationery sector of the historic paper mills Pigna, led by art direction by Matteo Ragni. They are dedicated to the Italian masters of 20th century design.

True luxury today is off-line

Next to the notebooks that replicate the original drawings by Enzo Mari for Danese, the new lines dedicated to Gio Ponti and the legendary typewriter Lettera 22 by Olivetti.

Because true luxury is being able to concentrate, relax or even just have fun, without invasive notifications. True luxury, today more than ever, is off-line.


Cover photo: Pineider Express, the service with which the Florentine brand specializing in paper, writing articles and leather goods offers the possibility to send, through its website, personalized letters entirely written by hand.