Hand-crafting a world of Wanda
“Everything starts with a simple white sheet of paper,” says Inti Velez Botero, co-founder and one of three core creatives at Wanda Barcelona. “It’s about how something so ordinary as paper can be turned into something extraordinary.”
Speaking from the Barcelona-based atelier – surrounded by shimmering golds, intricate patterns and jaw-dropping paper structures – Inti is talking us through his “old school” approach to artisanal design.
Inti – along with his co-creatives Daniel Mancini (the designer) and Iris Joval (the artist) – designs “one-of-a-kind worlds” using paper and cardboard. Merging traditional origami techniques with state-of-the-art laser cutting technology, these unique architectural structures are eco-friendly and fully recyclable.
“Wanda is a world – a creative world – and we have one language, which is paper.
“The universe of paper is massive. The more you know, the more you understand it. And the more you understand it, the more you’re able to create with it,” he says.
We want people to feel warmed, wowed. To feel magic.
The trio lead a core team of 12 creatives from various backgrounds, including artists, interiors experts, graphic designers and even, occasionally, hairdressers – “the best at working with their hands”.
However, for this exclusive collaboration with The Bicester Collection, the “little family” was expanded to 20 because of the scale and intricacy of the project – and still it took more than two months to create by hand. But this is what such delicate craftsmanship entails.
“To us, luxury means handmade. We’re focused on artisan work, constantly innovating and we have [hands], which machines will never have,” says Inti of their slower paced design. “We love working with our hands; we think with our hands.”
Christmas means family time, it means warmth. It means magic. It means sharing. It means caring. It means… shopping.
It’s clear the team invest body and soul into each piece of art. “It was a love story that started with people and translated into architecture,” explains Inti when we talk of the inspiration for The Bicester Collection’s starry night sky.
By chance, the trio visited a William Morris exhibition and fell in love: “We started to see how we could interpret that very geometrical thing, the star, into this organic pattern.”
And while the design is the same across the Villages, each star has been handmade by a different artist and so will have its own personality.
“I hope that when people come closer [to the installation] and realise that it’s paper, they go ‘wow’,” says Inti.
“We want to evoke beauty. We want to evoke emotion. We want to turn around that horrible grey day and turn it into a fabulous, blinking, sparkling moment.”
So, step into our twinkling, festive world this winter and marvel at Wanda’s ethereal imagining of our starry night sky – it’s guaranteed to bring Christmas to life.
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