Forget flocked and fleur-de-lis. Are you ready for some books, scrap wood and tin on your walls?
Think wallpaper and you think patterns, colors and repetition. And while wallpaper designs have grown up, some of them have also grown out. Through clever photography and printing techniques, they’re popping out of the wall and creating teasing life-size images.
Take Deborah Bowness, an English designer who produces ”tromp l’oeil for the 20th century”. Her depiction of life-size furniture, vintage clothing and other domestic objects creates the illusion of 3-dimensional space on a flat wall. Clients include Philippe Starck, The Clarence hotel in Dublin, and Soho House.
Not only is Bowness bringing wallpaper into the foreground, she’s making it function interactively. Placing a real chair in front of a “fake” couch on Deborah’s wallpaper enhances the illusion and tricks the eye.
But that’s not all. Deborah’s art-on-paper uses muted colors and an intentional aging effect to evoke a “past” memory to a current space. She does it by combining digital printing, silkscreen, photomontage and hand painting.
“I like the instant results you get from photography and silk screen printing. capturing a moment in time. preserving life. documenting life through everyday objects. creating a mood of nostalgia through the patina of materials.” says Deborah.
She photographs her own vintage furniture and clothing for the wallpaper, although she also does custom work, printing a dress or chair in a color to match a client’s decor.
Deborah turned the wallpaper world on its head while studying constructed textiles at the Royal College of Art in London. It was the mid-’90s, when minimalism and paint led the way in decor. Deborah set out to challenge the preconceived notion of wallpaper as a repeat pattern.
She says she never intended that her work dominate a room but, rather, to playfully interact with the objects and furniture around it. Her 22″ x 11′ wallpaper drops run around $280 each.
Deborah Bowness is not the only master of illusion. Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, best known for his intricate scrap wood furniture, is now creating digital wallpaper simulating the patterns and textures of his furniture, and perhaps just scraps of what’s left around his shop.
Manufacturer NLXL has a number of these wallpapers by different designers, but leading the way is the scrapwood, sold by Vertigo Home in Laguna Beach, California. Says Martin Ulrich, co-founder of Vertigo Home: “Scrapwood was the first wallpaper in the NLXL Collection and the best seller, still selling very well. It really is very versatile.” He says it goes with all kinds of interiors, whether your interior is cottagey or more modern.
Also worth watching at Vertigo Home are Concrete by Piet Boon which sells for $299 per 19″ x 9.83 yard roll and Brooklyn Tins from Merci store in Paris sells for $359 per 19″ x 10.94 yard roll. The wallpaper – is in super high resolution on heavy duty wallpaper. It’s colorfast and washable too.
The trick with photo-wallpapers is that there is no prescription for use. Gone are the days of painfully matching up sheets and patterns to make it look perfect. Many of Deborah’s pieces are already skewed, and she advocates using just one piece, or mixing sheets together – the more haphazard, sometimes, the better.
Visit Vertigo Home to view their full collection of wallpapers and other stylish goods for the design savvy.
Visit Wallpaper by Deborah Bowness for her full collection.