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The Art of Minimalism: How Paper Origami Influences Design | Paperwallet

The Art of Minimalism: How Paper Origami Influences Design | Paperwallet

Part of the superiority of a Paperwallet is in its ‘micro wallet’ sizing. How is it possible that such a small wallet can still fit a full set of cash and cards? The answer lies in the art of paper origami. Origami-inspired the design of every Paperwallet and contributes to the blend of art, science, and style that makes the Paperwallet so unique.

What is Origami?

The Japanese word ‘origami’ originates from two other words, ‘oru’ which means ‘to fold’ and ‘kami’ which means ‘paper’. The art requires very few materials, a square sheet of paper (often with a colored side, but not required) and a set of hands. Sculptures resembling animals, symbols, and even people are created by repeatedly folding a singular piece of paper. Origami pieces can range from a few simple folds to hundreds. When following the traditional paper origami practice, there can be no assistance from tools like glue, scissors, or tape. Popular and recognizable origami figures include the crane, boat, and butterfly.

turquoise, white, and pink paper origami bird

The History of Paper Origami

The history of origami stems from the invention of paper. Paper was created in China around 105 A.D. It was then brought to Japan by Buddhist monks in the sixth century. Paper folding practices developed over the next several hundred years. In the early days, paper was a scarce and valuable resource due to the extensive, handmade paper making process. Because of this, origami was primarily meant for religious purposes. Over time, the art became more complex and expanded beyond religious ceremonies into everyday use. It is said that prior to the now-famous origami paper cranes, origami butterflies were common adornments for bottles of saké at Shinto weddings.

The history of origami became more formalized in 1797 when the supposed first written instructions for creating origami were created. These instructions, titled, “thousand crane folding” can be found in Akisato Rito’s Sembazuru Orikata. Paper origami is unique from other artforms in that it is able to be easily taught across different languages and cultures. Arrows and numbers can be drawn or printed on the paper to mark the folds rather than relying purely on written descriptions.

Artists from other countries around the world have shaped the history of paper origami as well. Prior to the widespread availability of paper, it’s thought that cloth or napkin folding was the origin of origami in European countries. Paper folding was first introduced to Spain by the Moors in the twelfth century. This practice then expanded and by the 1800s, paper origami folding was a common activity taught to both Japanese and European children from a young age.


Origami Today

Paper origami has developed in increasingly complex ways throughout time. Artists have branched off to incorporate mixed materials and new combinations of old designs to bring the traditional art into the modern day. Due to the larger and more intricate nature of modern origami pieces, many disregard the rules surrounding the use of scissors or only a singular piece of paper.

Today, origami artists have built upon the traditional artform to modernize origami for use in the world today. Origami artists now incorporate math, science, and puzzles into their designs. The two and three-dimensional elements of origami add attention-grabbing texture and detail to otherwise mundane projects like buildings, furniture, fashion, and accessories.

In pursuit of the integration of origami into previously untapped industries, unique partnerships have been made between individuals like mechanical engineers and fashion designers. Through their combined knowledge and expertise, they’ve created wearable origami clothing. Origami has also inspired new architecture and furniture designs. These adaptable and multi-purpose pieces, much like the Paperwallet, are intended to create visual intrigue while improving the use of small spaces. Thanks to origami, innovations of this nature have revolutionized the quality of living for individuals in small homes and apartments.

 origami inspired architecture

Origami and Paperwallet

The process of designing the original Paperwallet was heavily focused on creating a compact, lightweight accessory that still had enough room to fit a users’ valuable items. Paper origami provided the inspiration needed to achieve a sleek and minimalistic look while simultaneously optimizing space for a compactly designed wallet. The perfect material was found in Tyvek®, which boasts superior lightweight and durable qualities. Though it is not actually paper, Tyvek® looks and feels like it, which allows it to be folded in the origami style when creating wallets.

Specifically, the slim wallet, card wallet, and micro wallets are nearest to the traditional origami craft. They are made from a single piece of Tyvek® that has been folded into the wallet. The clutch wallet, coin pouch, and flat wallet are made from several Tyvek® pieces that have been sewn together. However, they are still greatly influenced by origami and Japanese design. The marriage of Tyvek® and origami results in the Paperwallet we have today: exceptionally designed for easy use, longevity, and optimal visual appeal.


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