Gerald is a dog like no other, born of a collaborative project between Lazerian’s founder, Liam Hopkins and Richard Sweeney, a designer from West Yorkshire.
Looking into the properties of paper, and the ethos of the studio, the pair set about creating a free standing model of man’s best friend. Choosing the Bracco Italiano breed of gun dog as a guide, they created a large-format, free-standing sculpture from 88 individual components, each cut and glued by hand.
Although the first Gerald’s construction was a prime example great design giving strength and grace to the most unlikely and underappreciated of materials, the need to develop an easier, DIY dog for people to buy and make at home became clear. Launching at the 100% Design Event in London in 2009, a smaller version of the dog with a greatly reduced number of components was made available for sale and sold out on the first day. From there, Hopkins had an idea that would take Gerald onto the international stage.
Starting in 2011, hundreds of paper dogs were shipped between the UK and artists’ studios in Europe, USA, Australia, Argentina, South Korea and New Zealand, with the only instruction to creatives being to put their own spin on the emerging design classic. What came back to the Lazerian studio in a corner of Manchester, was a range of interpretations from a wood grain pattern from British artist, Pete Fowler, to a biological cross-section of a living, breathing dog from Los Angeles-based illustrator, Jimi Crayon. 105 artists added their creative mark to a total of 120 dogs, with their next stop being New York.
James Cropper, a major paper manufacturer, joined forces with Lazerian to send all of the dogs to NYCxDesign in 2013, taking over a prestigious event space in Manhattan for a three day exhibition and book launch. Specially made, powder-coated steel and Perspex kennels housed each of the dogs and the lavish, hard-back book shared centre-stage, featuring each of the dogs in full colour and made available to a waiting list of buyers in a special edition, plywood, laser etched case.
Hundreds of paper dogs making their way over the Atlantic rightfully made an impression on the world’s media, with articles appearing in newspapers from Spain to Argentina and the most influential design publications including Fast Co. Design, *Wallpaper and Selectism.