Leave No Trace · Imprimerie du Marais A manifesto-invitation for sustainable printing

The project Leave No Trace, created in collaboration with Made Thought in the context of our participation in Luxe Pack 2019, is a manifesto-invitation for eco-design. 

This delicate sixteen-page leaflet is a veritable cabinet of curiosities that assumes the air of a more or less exotic herbarium. Its constituent paper artifacts are presented with the help of kerfs as discreet as they are essential. In this sense, they translate the editorial line of the whole, which oscillates between Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more” and McLuhan’s “the medium is the message”.

The virtuous, aesthetic, adapted combination of unique motifs, techniques and print materials directly echoes the natural compositions and original uses of those mediums meticulously sourced from our dedicated materials library, while also signalling the Imprimerie’s strong stance on eco-design. 

As you turn the milky, translucent pages (harmoniously hand-finished in Paptic®), you first encounter the silhouette of a finely laser-cut bouquet of flowers. The cutting brings out the multi-level embossing of that floral design on paper sown with seeds of the wild flowers that inspired it. The hope that this bouquet of delicately textured white paper might someday transform into real flowers of a thousand and one colours is therefore justified. It is all just a matter of time and the cycle of seasons…

The slender movements of a palm leaf nurture that circular vision. They are vertically inscribed in the fibres of a textured paper with off-white colours and greys made from palm tree bark. A singular paper on which meticulous laser engraving makes a powerful statement, and reveals the elegant colour at its heart: that of a light wood as fine as it is audacious.

What appears next is a cotton flower motif produced through blind multi-level embossing. This gives a satin finish to the cotton tissue paper that serves as its medium. It is one way of achieving a rich, soft composition of matt and pearly effects with one single technique, on one single material made from Indian industrial textile waste.

To loop the loop of this virtuous circle, the infinitesimal details of a multi-level embossing revive a bee more life-like than nature. It is resting and feeding on a paper provided for that purpose. This innovative material, entirely made of lemongrass, is covered in red circle patterns made with a water-based UV paint that only bees can see. Nothing is left to chance so that the bees will be irresistibly drawn to this sweetened paper, which is a source of food for them. It also includes melliferous plant seeds that, once planted, will yield flowers, offering bees a future refuge. In this respect, that final page is the grand finale in the tribute to the power of natural regeneration that this very special publication constitutes.

Leave No Trace is therefore a humble call to minimise the negative impacts that our printed creations have on the environment, and to generate some positive impacts as well. Instructions are provided as a watermark on its apparently blank pages. Silkscreen printed in white using plant-based ink on an immaculate Paptic®, they are available to anyone willing to take the time to decipher them. From that perspective, Leave No Trace also pays tribute to an active form of contemplation that leads down the path of reflection, between opacities and transparencies.

Through the prism of this new medium, a message that initially seems subliminal becomes vital. This is why, quite rightly, the invitation to attend the event and to design sustainably is revealed at the very heart of the book through an elegant blind embossing. It is applied to a silver-inlayed paper made from water, recycled paper and scrap aluminium.

Everything is assembled with a subtle Singer stitching, then enveloped in the caress of a Korean paper under 20 grams in weight, made solely of plant-based fibres. Once folded and marked by our logo in subtle white foiling, it becomes a cover. Resistant and light, soft and sustainable, it makes this precious manifesto sublime.

"Generations of artisans built our workshops, preparing the future of their crafts."