A finely-crafted provocation: Ross Gardam’s Paper Weight


Ross Gardam’s Paper Weight is a finely-crafted provocation: a non-digital device that you can waste your time on. He describes the concept behind the object as ‘super simple': 'It is somewhat of a useless item. It's a paperweight, a nice physical thing, as opposed to the digital things most people spend their lives on nowadays.’ 

Precisely balanced, apply some finger pressure and the Paper Weight scrolls around itself in a kind of perpetual motion—a throwback to the iconic desk toys of the era prior to the paperless office. It is elegant, heavy, and a product of expert labor. The ultimate fidgety object, its refined form and ‘uselessness’ sits in happy contrast to the everyday ‘to-dos’ of deskwork. 

Gardam founded his Melbourne-based industrial and interior design company, Spaceleft, in 2007. Producing lighting, furniture and object designs, he has built a reputation for using singular materials or design operations to arrive at refined outcomes. Paper Weight slightly deviates from Gardam’s current fascination with lighting. Recent products such as Méne Table Lamp and Volant Wall Light are clearly functional designs.


Image credit: 
Michael Pham

Paper Weight does continue this vein of exploration, however, in a different way. Brass is a well established part of his material palette and as an exploration of form, Paper Weight references Gardam’s Hemera Desk Lamp, applying that design language in a smaller object. Gardam saw some other continuity, too, in that it proceeds from a decade of experimentation with metal lathes, which he has been using for prototyping.




For Gardam, getting to make an object for Souvenir as an extension of this experimentation was a great outcome. ‘If someone then took that next step after buying an object, to research the company they bought it from and engage with the brand in that way, that's a really cool thing.’ 

Gardam loves people to have an emotional connection to his products and Paper Weight promises to deliver just that—solving a simple challenge in a way that playfully questions the cultural priorities and behaviours of today.


Image credit: Friends & Associates 


About Souvenir 

Souvenir is a collection of meaningful, functional and affordable objects by Australian designers and craftspeople.

Commissioned by Friends & Associates and hosted by specialist architecture and design bookstore Bookshop by Uro, each artefact encapsulates the current fascinations and preoccupations of its designer in a compact, collectible form.