In a feat of impressive simplicity – and an idea so obvious it's a wonder it doesn't already exist – the Hamburg-based creative organisation Ogata has put a new spin on the traditional paper grocery bag.
'In our everyday life we are used to move from place to place with our bicycles,' explain Ogata founders Dennis Rasch and Cornelius Voss. 'When we went shopping for groceries we often wondered, how are we going to transport these back home in a secure and comfortable way? It quickly came to our minds that the most comfortable way to carry weight is on one's back, irrespective of whether you are going by foot or by bike.'
A backpack, then. That's nothing new. But a paper backpack-cum-shopping bag, made out of recycled craft paper, stocked by supermarkets and offered at the same price as a regular grocery bag? That is original. Thus, the Paper John was born.
Sustainable, cheap to produce, simple to use and, being paper, easily brand-able, the bag's neat aesthetic – simultaneously rustic and urbane – is as minimalist as its concept, functioning with the inclusion of long carry handles that double as shoulder straps.
Working with a German engineering company, Orgata has devised a method of producing the Paper John at high volumes, and have now shifted its attention to locating funding for launching the bag properly, via the German crowdfunding platform StartNext. It hopes to hit a pledge goal of €600,000 by late September 2015.
Ogata's remit, the company claims, is 'to create solutions for every day objects and situations by smart works of clarity and beauty'. With Paper John, it's criteria: fulfilled.