After decades of wishful thinking, probably kick-started by the first microfilm and roll of tape in existence, the paperless office is starting to become a reality. At wollzelle, pitching new projects and brainstorming with clients over a high-speed Internet link is an everyday reality. Our clients rely on us to introduce them to cutting-edge web solutions, and it seems only natural for our meetings to take place over the same medium.
Yet, we feel strongly about paper. Even in a virtual world, the plans of which we are drafting every day, paper has its place. In modern parlance, it’s an industry-standard, it’s energy-efficient, adaptable and compatible with the widest range of humans. What’s more, paper brings a feel to the words and images it presents, something a screen cannot achieve.
Screens are great for interacting, broadcasting and automating. Paper is great to encourage thought, free from technical boundaries. That’s why, for big presentations, we often use paper hand-outs. Building upon our architectural roots, we devised brainstorming portfolios reminiscent of those we once distributed to city planners and urbanists.
Crafting web sites and virtual worlds with down-to-earth tools encourages lateral thinking and creativity. Subtly but surely, it reminds us all that technology is an instrument, not a fact, and an adaptable one at that.
Finally, because paper is becoming a rare sight in the modern office, printed matter becomes inherently more valuable. We find our folders attract more attention, encourage repeat reading and carry more weight than virtual counterparts.
The lesson to be learnt? Stay true to your roots, and devise communication strategies that echo what you stand for. We are about approaching European traditions and cutting-edge technology with an architectural eye. Your own mix will certainly be different, but it pays to remember that technology should complement, and not override, your identity.