Is it possible to build a paper plane that can actually fly?

2013-01-23 17:39

Anna, who had attended the three-year Graphic Media Technology programme at the Broby Vocational College of Graphic Design knew early on in her exam project that she wanted to design something bigger than items such as business cards or logotypes. She wanted to make something “real”, likes three-dimensional and wanted to work physically with her hands, maybe because of her past experience as a pastry chef and potter. Her ambition was to design a function, and after some thought about building a helicopter, she decided on a plane.

Photographer: Agnes Kallin

When she came to the conclusion that she wanted to design a plane, the next step was to decide on which material to use. Anna describes how she has always liked paper as a material – both in the analogous and physical sense. “Paper might not look like much and is fairly flat, but it can take on so many exciting shapes,” she says. The material had to meet the criteria of being firm and strong, yet light and flexible at the same time, and after a great deal of thought, it was decided that paper was the material best suited to Anna’s purpose. She chose containerboard from Gruvön mill and kraft paper from Gävle. BillerudKorsnäs’ head office then sponsored the engine.

Anna describes how it was hard to get financing to start with because many believed that it wouldn’t work. But the college and teachers always provided lots of support. I didn’t give up and in the end everything fell into place. Now, my airplane is part of what markets the whole class’ exhibition, which feels fantastic. At the time of the exam at the end of March, the exhibition catalogue of the class will be issued, and it will be great to see how everybody’s work is received,” continues Anna. “It was such a fun exam project. Seeing the plane evolve was exciting and challenging, and I learned such a lot from managing the project myself, including everything from design to the financial part. In particular, it was great to work with design in a new way and with paper, which is such a good material.”

After her exam, Anna would like to work with design, construction and function and is most comfortable when she can create things that can make a difference in the long run.

We are delighted to have had the opportunity of showcasing our fantastic packaging material in a completely new segment – aircraft. Anna’s proven innovative capabilities are qualities we appreciate, and we thank her for her joy and inspiration in this exciting exam project.


Age: 25
Family: boyfriend
Likes: hiking in the mountains, museums, culture, dining
Hidden talent: handy with an air rifle – won an air rifle tournament at middle school
Greatest success: very pleased indeed with the plane, but also a chair I made previously, also out of paper actually, with three other girls at college. The chair was actually showcased at Antalis in Stockholm.


Last updated: 2013-01-23