People July 25, 2014   |  by

10 Questions with Guillermo Juarez of Cazapapeles

We caught up with the Mexican designer, who’s also one half of design studio Cazapapeles, ahead of his showcase at Redundant Shop’s Back Door Access.

By Daniel Loy
Photos by Mellowedhigh

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Mexican designer Guillermo Juarez looks right at home in Redundant Shop

Mexican designer Guillermo Juarez, along with college mate Fernando Martinez, are the brains behind design studio Cazapapeles (Spanish for “Paper Hunters”). Their choice of medium is the humble cardboard, and the duo spend much time meticulously working on the material to create geometric representations of animals like the polar bear and rhino. We speak to Guillermo ahead of his showcase happening this evening, July 25th, at the Redundant Shop.

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A much-needed coffee break for Guillermo as we pull him aside for a chat

Were you always into art and design?
No, in fact I was about to study engineering back in 2006. The turning point came when I saw the Juicy Salif lemon squeezer designed by French designer Philippe Starck. I thought it would be great to create objects that go beyond being functional. It will be a lot different if I had gone ahead and studied engineering (laughs).

Where and what do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from nature. I do mountain biking, which is really relaxing and a way to de-stress and inspire myself. I see a lot of different animals in the trails and it’s great to notice all the nature that we normally don’t notice everyday. Also, I take references from things that I would like to do or see. For example, I would like to see a wolf in real life and have it as a pet, which is why I’ve created a cardboard version of it.

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Handle with care: Cardboard may be sturdy but it still requires a delicate touch

Why choose cardboard as your medium?
We want to send a message to those who view our installations, that you don’t have to be limited by the materials you can work with. It’s cool and awesome to use high end materials, but we can use cardboard and give new meaning to this material that nobody notices.

Does using cardboard present any challenge?
Yeah, the lifespan is a challenge. We had plans to hold an outdoor installation for two weeks but due to rainy weather it wouldn’t be possible for our works to last.

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Trust us, it’s better to see him live in action, so RSVP if you haven’t already

Your works are largely based on animals like the wolf, polar bear and rhino. Why this fascination with animals?
Well, we take animals as something that most people can relate to. A wolf is a wolf whether you’re someone from Singapore or America. If you work on very specific objects, it may be difficult for people of different cultures to understand.

Are your methods top secret?
The techniques for the crafting process is no secret, it’s really a lot of paper folding and pasting. I also use computer software to create the 3D model, after which we “unwrap” it and copy all the surfaces to our blueprints. We then print it out and cut the shapes by hand. We once tried using a laser cutter but it went really bad so we reverted to using good old handiwork.

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Besides its cardboard masterpieces, Cazapapeles also deals with innovative packaging and furniture

Are there notable places where your installations have been showcased?
Yes! Back in Mexico, our work will be showcased in two galleries – Museo Metropolitano de Monterrey and Via 360 Gallery. We also recently spoke to a Origami Museum in Tokyo and they will put up our work as well. We’re also looking to sell our ceramic skull products in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and in the Netherlands.

Sounds like you’ve got your work “cut out” for you.
There’s more! We’re working on very interesting new products and we plan to release them by the end of November. All I can say is it will be a functional product and we hope you guys like it.

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There’s no easier and better way to keep up with the Mexican duo than through social media

What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt as an designer?
You’ve got to keep working hard. I have heard about local designers who are struggling to create a brand and products. Back in Mexico, we don’t have much of a design culture…we are actually really new. But it’s starting to bloom and I think it’s the same in Singapore. I believe we have to work harder, go as far as we can and even further if we want to achieve our goals.

What advice would you give to younger, aspiring designers?
Look for something new to offer. Don’t go and do what somebody else is doing, because you got to do something that you believe in and can innovate. I’ve seen a lot of work that amazes me, and when you amaze someone, that’s what makes the difference and will give you the opportunity to work and show more.

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Guillermo will be seeing you at Redundant Shop’s Back Door Access

It’s not too late to RSVP for Redundant Shop’s Back Door Access featuring Guillermo Juarez!
Send an email to pauline@redundantshop.com