The Great Wall of Paper
Wallpaper has never gone out of style. But it’s also had a hard time shedding its reputation as old-fashioned and intimidatingly permanent. Wallcoverings are one of the easiest avenues toward generating design impact in an interior space. Few interiors products upgrade aesthetics as quickly and as cost-effectively. Whether you are looking for textural warmth and sophistication or high-impact color and drama, the wallcoverings market offers a vast array of affordable, sustainable and fashionable selections.
Wallpaper types include painted wallpaper, hand-printed block wood wallpaper, hand-printed stencil wallpaper, machine-printed wallpaper, and flock wallpaper. Wallpaper, using the printmaking technique of hand-printed block wood, gained popularity in Renaissance Europe. The social elite continued to hang large tapestries on the walls of their homes, as they had in the Middle Ages. Less well-off members of the elite, unable to buy tapestries due either to prices or wars preventing international trade, turned to wallpaper to brighten up their rooms. Early wallpaper featured scenes similar to those depicted on tapestries.
Modernism struck in the 20th century. Painted walls stole some of the limelight from wallpapered designs. Coupled with printing restrictions during war times, wallpaper production slowed for large parts of the first half of the century. In post Second World War times, restrictions eased, and the artistic movements of the time influenced wallpaper design heavily. Pop-art featured heavily in wallpaper design in the 1960’s, whilst geometric patterns came to the fore in the ‘70s.
Digital technologies have opened new possibilities for design impact and customization. Product designers are harnessing the technology to create visually stunning large-scale graphics with vivid color, crisp detail and compelling texture. Industrial looks are on point with current design trends, including riveted metals and porous concrete. Nature themes abound, depicting everything from earthy and botanical landscapes to wood grains, striated stones and geodes.
Walls have become gallery space, driven by the availability of dramatic floor-to-ceiling wallcovering murals. Wallcoverings as art can help brand the environment, ground the interior in its geographic locale, contribute to a thematic design or establish a familial warmth.
Minimalism is giving way to maximalism, and bold color and pattern are on full display. Fueled by the popularity of digital wallcoverings, ’70s style large-scale geometrics and organics are making a comeback in both commercial and residential spaces. Get your groove on with geometric circles, hexagons, squares and parallelograms. Or get back to nature with oversized palms, florals, botanicals and nature scenes. At home, consumers are worrying less about matching furnishings and more about finding a pattern they love and covering the whole wall. In commercial environments, the predominance of white is giving way to bigger, brighter and bolder color, pattern, texture and form.