Milling about— Global


With a rapidly shifting media landscape and declines in newspaper sales, it might seem logical to expect paper mills to be struggling. Not so in the case of northern England’s James Cropper, whose unique colours and specialist papers have ensured healthy profits.

Mark Cropper, Paper mill

With the advent of digital media, paper mills across Europe are struggling for survival. Yet at 166-year-old James Cropper in the north of England, things couldn’t be more different. With a turnover of £76m (€90m) in 2010, producing 45,000 tonnes a year, business at the family-run firm is booming.

People who usually associate high- quality paper manufacturers solely with smart stationery are surprised at Cropper’s reach across so many sectors. The UK government relies on the firm for its White Paper reports, the medical industry would be at a loss…

Paper trail


Founded in 1899 as a specialist paper importer, Tokyo-based firm Takeo has a following among Japanese designers for its one-of-a-kind inventory. White from floor to ceiling, its main Tokyo retail outlet in Nishiki-cho district was designed by Ryue Nishizawa, while Masaaki Hiromura created the logo.

Post-it-sized samples of paper in every colour and texture take up much of the room’s narrow tables and what appear to be wall tiles, labelled with alphanumeric codes, are actually drawers stuffed with A4 sheets. A sign advertises the company’s newest product, Cordoba, a thick stock with a texture resembling leather.

Takeo’s biggest event is its annual paper show – this year is its 46th – a launch pad for new ideas. Designer Tokujin Yoshioka created a paper honeycomb structure for the show that he later used in the prototype of his iconic Honey-Pop chair, which sits in the New York Museum of Modern Art’s collection. “We try to do new things that will broaden the possibilities of paper,” says branding manager Kousuke Miyazaki.


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