This Wallpaper Doubles As A Power Source

By Diana Budds

Wallpaper’s primary function is to look pretty but in a new collaboration between the Brooklyn-based wallcovering company Flavor Paper and the design firm UM Project it’s used as a power source.

[Photos: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO/courtesy Flavor Paper]

Conduct–an interactive installation appearing at Collective Design, part of New York’s month-long design festival NYCxDesign–is composed of five motorized or electrical objects. Abstract interpretations of a fan, a light box, a lamp, a speaker, and a mirror on a hinge are mounted on a wall covered in paper that’s printed with conductive ink. When a person touches one of the half dollar-sized copper dots on the wall, her body completes an electrical circuit and turns “on” the object. For example, the fan starts spinning, the light turns on, and the mirror on a hinge pivots.

[Photos: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO/courtesy Flavor Paper]

“The availability of a water-based conductive ink made my brain go into hyperdrive with thoughts of the multitude of potential uses for fun and engaging designs,” Jon Sherman, Flavor Paper’s founder, tells Co.Design by email.

François Chambard, UM Project’s founder, was interested in how the project integrates 2D and 3D design. “Conductive ink is not new and it has been used a lot, but often the devices attached to and triggered by conductive ink feel disconnected, not integrated,” he tells Co.Design by email. “We worked hard to create a cohesive language and environment.”

[Photos: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO/courtesy Flavor Paper]

While this installation is essentially an artwork, Sherman thinks that conductive wallpaper could be used in spaces like corporate lobbies and children’s museums. “There are numerous practical uses and endless ways to simply provide people with a fun interactive experience that also provides a beautiful, graphic design element,” he says.

Conduct is on view at Collective Design until May 7, 2017.

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