This Designer Is Building Electronics with Paper

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By Stephen Heyman and Dwell
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.

Don’t call Coralie Gourguechon a D.I.Y. geek, even if her most successful designs to date have involved building a speaker and a camera around a single sheet of cardstock paper. The 28-year-old has managed to fuse the world of crafty, open-source gadgets with the rigor and sensibility of high design. Her creations are minimalist and chic, and suggest that as technology becomes ever more present in our lives, its form—inside and out—should be as thought-through as its function. 

This Designer Is Building Electronics with Paper - Photo 1 of 5 - Coralie Gourguechon's paper speaker, powered by a single nine-volt battery. 

Coralie Gourguechon's paper speaker, powered by a single nine-volt battery. 

Gourguechon grew up in northern France and studied applied arts in high school. She had her first breakthrough when a teacher suggested she avoid designing the types of things she already liked and instead focus on improving or demystifying the things she loathed, like personal electronics. Her paper speaker functions simultaneously as a rudimentary battery-powered electronic and a kind of educational diagram that teaches you how it works. 

This Designer Is Building Electronics with Paper - Photo 2 of 5 - The simple design uses paper and basic electronics. 

The simple design uses paper and basic electronics. 

While Gourguechon has made a name for herself with her elegant paper devices, she’s also branching out into other areas. She’s now finishing a residency at Fabrica, the interdisciplinary research center financed by the Benetton Group in Treviso, Italy, where she collaborated with others to create a "virtual archivist" that uses artificial intelligence to categorize digital artworks. (The project has been shortlisted for the IK Prize given jointly by Tate museums in the UK and Microsoft.) 

This Designer Is Building Electronics with Paper - Photo 3 of 5 - She effortlessly combines accessible technology and smart design. 

She effortlessly combines accessible technology and smart design. 


This Designer Is Building Electronics with Paper - Photo 4 of 5 - All the components of the paper speaker.    

All the components of the paper speaker.    

"Technology is sometimes this bright and shiny thing but it also can be a black box," Gourguechon said. "I want to open it up a little, to try to better understand our relationship to it."


This Designer Is Building Electronics with Paper - Photo 5 of 5 - The graphic layout of the speaker.   

The graphic layout of the speaker.   

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