Stickyline is a Hong Kong-based creative duo that manipulates and reengineers paper in ingenious ways. The team is comprised of two designers, Soilworm Lai and Mic Leong, who both graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design with majors in industrial and product design. They transform two-dimensional images into three-dimensional objects through a process of deconstruction and reconstruction. Their creative manipulation of paper results in complex installation art, stage designs, and sculptures. Many might associate Stickyline’s creations with Japanese origami, since they employ creative folding techniques similar to origami, but a big differentiating factor is that Stickyline’s end products are more like three-dimensional puzzles. With their elaborate paper creations, they have managed to narrow the gap between imagination and reality that much more.
Stickyline是香港的雙人紙藝創意團隊，由畢業於香港理工大學設計學院的前包裝設計師Soilworm Lai和前玩具設計師Mic Leong創立於2011年。二維平面轉換到三維立體形態，在解構和重構之間，Stickyline以紙為材料制作裝置、雕塑和舞臺設計，進行跨領域創作，為想象與現實創造了新維度。雖然同樣有很多折疊，但不同於日本折紙藝術——盡管這是很多人首先會聯想到的，Stickyline的作品更像是3D拼圖，這也是他們之間的根本區別。
Computer 3D modeling is an important part of the production process in all of Stickyline’s projects. Whether it is a personal project or a commercial project, Soilworm and Mic have to think very carefully about all the different factors that are involved with their different creations; for example, they need to consider the space that their designs will eventually occupy. The two first brainstorm together and sketch out an initial design, then afterwards they digitally develop it into a three-dimensional model. After a meticulous research and analysis phase, they next begin to plan out how their installation will occupy the space that it will later be put in. Coming from such similar backgrounds, these two designers are able to work harmoniously side by side, from the initial brainstorming stage all the way up to the actual production.
Stickyline has already started collaborating with a large number of well-known local and international brands. Their story began with Masked Creatures, a small project created for Hong Kong’s DesignMart, which consisted of crafting paper helmets in the shape of various well-known Hong Kong architecture. Soilworm and Mic wanted not only to create something that people would find interesting, but they want their work to leave an impression in people’s minds. Just after a few days, their series of colorful and uniquely shaped helmets became a hot topic of conversation and was shared all over social media. For them, gaining the approval of so many people gave Soilworm and Mic more confidence in their art. From that project onwards, their studio’s momentum hasn’t faltered a bit. Stickyline’s paper creations has already expanded into actual products: from accessories, lights, to toys – they’ve even created fashion for local celebrities!
Neocha: As we all know, paper, without being properly handled is a very fragile material choice, and you have some larger sized works. We were wondering how you dealt with the situation. What’s the biggest challenge in using paper like this?
Stickyline: It is quite challenging and it is also what makes us different from other paper artists, since we tend to build big objects using paper. The paper we use is tougher and thicker than those normally found in stationary shops. Some papers have different textures and different finishes which make them more durable.
Besides, paper only acts as the skin in our artwork. Our art, being so large, we are forced to create structures that supports the skin by using paper cardboard, wood, and sometimes even metal. For example, when we created a sculpture of a killer whale, paper becomes the skin, and inside the whale, there are structures that are a bit like the bones of the animal. Without it, the paper would collapse.
Neocha: Describe for us a couple of your personal favorite designs. Why are they interesting to you?
Stickyline: Coast Modules was the first project that we created which involved interaction with visitors and that was produced with the help of a factory. These things made a big difference in our creative process. The interactive elements added value to our design, and the factory built wonderful paper sculptures with the rules we set up. They then put it together in some random arrangements. The mass production of the factory allowed for more design variety, and at the same time it enriched the content that our visitors can interact with. Employing factory production also helped with the physical size of the project, which scaled it up to something even more impressive.
Another project we want to mention is Bamboo Mountain Bamboo Sea, which took place at a historical building now called PMQ (the former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters). It is an installation with a setup displaying clothes being hung out to dry and the clothes are much bigger than usual one and it is all made out of paper! It includes clothing that normal people would have: trouser, t-shirts, underwear, bras, dresses, and so on. You can see people walk along the corridor with surprised facial expressions when they see some of the traditional methods of drying clothes recreated in a modern way.
Stickyline: 《Coast Modules》是我們做的第一個包含觀眾互動的項目，這個項目的制作我們也得到了工廠的幫助。這兩個點給我們的創作帶來了很大不同: 互動元素為我們的設計添加了一層價值，觀眾根據我們設立的規則，以具有個體性差異的手法作出很棒的紙雕塑；工廠的大批量生產則給我們設計上的可能提供了更多的空間，同時它豐富了觀眾可以參與發揮的內容。同時這種制作也幫助我們將作品更大型化，給人更為深刻的印象。
另一個我們要提到的項目是《Bamboo Mountain Bamboo Sea》，它是發生在一個叫做元創方 (前荷李活道已婚警察宿舍) 的歷史建築中。這個裝置，是將衣物按照舊時的晾曬方式懸掛著，這些“衣物”包含了平常大家會穿著的褲子、T恤、內衣、內褲、裙子等等，只是它們的尺寸平常所見要大很多，而且都是紙做的。妳可以看到，經過的人們看到傳統的晾衣形式可以以這麽現代的方式來再現時，他們那按耐不住的驚訝神情。
Neocha: What has been the biggest changes for you and your work over the last four years? And what’s one thing that you stick to no matter what?
Stickyline: We’ve stuck to our original concept of transforming objects from 2D to 3D as well as our style of creating polygon features, lines and planes.
As far as the biggest changes, we’ve actually been trying to design shapes with fewer and fewer polygons, while still keeping the content and details all intact. This requires a lot more precision during production in order to stay true to our initial design. Paper is still the main material in most of our projects, but we’ve tried crossovers involving different things like projections, interactive elements, and adding lighting into our installations.
Neocha: How does Hong Kong, the city you’re currently living in, inspire you?
Stickyline: As we always say, our daily life inspire us the most. What we see and experience in this city is an important inspiration to us, and some of our projects address these daily elements from a different perspective. One example is when we made a paper power plug, but scaled up to a huge size, it stood taller than a man including the wire. Shifting people’s perspective to focus on the little things again is exciting and makes us happy.
Neocha: What do you have in the works for the near future?
Stickyline: We always want to develop even more products. We have some ideas in mind but haven’t had the time to flesh them out fully yet. We hope we can hit the mark with these ideas. Besides that, we also have some new commercial work, prop designs, and set designs all in progress. We will take part in an exhibition in Singapore, a project to test people on how well they know their fears.