A Thai artist has turned used papers into individually-crafted decorative items.

All things have a value depending on how people perceive them. One Thai set designer has discovered a new purpose for used paper and other props.

“I have worked in the commercial film industry for over 10 years and there are a lot of scrap paper and leftover props after shooting,” says Wittaya Chaimongkol, the founder of 103 Paper Shop. “Then, I thought instead of throwing them away, why not reuse them and add value to those used materials.”

Inspired by the piles of papers, he began to reuse them for his artwork, which are one of a kind pieces because although they may have similar shapes, they differ in colour and small details.

“I transform used paper into a clay-like material and use it for molding sculpture. Unlike papier mâché, the colour of our products comes from the original colour of used paper, such as the brown of corrugated paper and the yellow from Yellow Pages paper,” Chaimongkol explains.

The 103 Paper Shop, currently offers several products including vases, sculptures and other decorative items. They are 100% handmade, 70-80% water resistance, light-weight and easy for cleaning.

“My customers are people who love and admire the value of artworks and design products,” he says, adding that his customers come from Thailand, and Europe, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Some customers buy the finished products, while some, such as hotels, pre-order special sculptures or decorative items.

Although Chaimongkol does not have a physical shop, all the products are available online at his website. Customers can also purchase them at trade fairs, such as DITP’s STYLE Bangkok. Chaimongkol meets both new and existing customers at such shows, and uses their feedback to shape product development.

“At first glance, most customers thought our products were made from stone or ceramics, and they are amazed when they know all are made from recycled paper,” he adds.

Chaimongkol accepts that because the products are 100% handmade, it is impossible to supply them to a mass market. Therefore, he plans to add another product line to serve that market in the future. These products too will be made from recycled materials. Moreover, Chaimongkol is working with the DITP and Japanese experts to develop products for Japan.

Some of his products won the Thailand Green Design Award in 2018, in the category of resource efficiency, and qualified for the second round of Design Excellence Award (DEmark) in 2017 and 2018.

To catch up with other decorative items and lifestyle products, visit STYLE Bangkok, DITP’s trade fair from April 17 to 21, 2019 at BITEC Bang Na. 

For more information, visit www.103paper.com.

Words by Somhatai Mosika. Photo courtesy of 103 Paper Shop.