What is Project Tabula? Well, it begins with a base paper made by a traditional, high-quality Japanese mill. We select for certain properties we want to emphasise, for instance colour performance, or ink resistance. But then we begin to modify the bits of it we don't like.
Traditionally, a paper leaving the mill is seen as being in its optimal state, with the goal of any handling following the papermaking process to keep it as stable as possible, and in as similar a condition as possible to the day it left the factory floor. Project Tabula turns that thinking on its head, by treating paper the same way an artist might spike their canvas or a ballet dancer might deform their flats: in other words, we introduce a deliberate, predetermined set of stressors designed to shape this base paper into a customised tool.
From the chemical composition of the ink used to print the rulings on our notebook pages, to the pressure on the finishing rollers used to smooth the papers before binding, to the intentional gradation of high and low humidities in specific sequences to alternately modify the brittleness and suppleness of a paper's internal fibres; we test through various conditions in order to develop a proprietary set of customisations and handlings unique to every base paper. The aim is to make each paper in this project perform optimally to a single, specific set of requirements — the use case we mentioned earlier.
The end result? A hyperspecific paper in each release, built upon a reliable platform, then tuned to a particular group of users who seek the perfect fit for their needs.