Although one of my dearest childhood toys was a wallpaper sample book a neighbor rescued from the dump, there hasn’t been a minute of my adult life that I wanted wallpaper. Until now.
Wallpaper has fallen on hard times, as a less stifling design ethos has peeled off about 90 percent of the stripes, flowers, frippery, froth, gilding, ribbons, swags, drapes, tufting, carving, texture, color, and assorted visual bombardment that characterized the Reagan Years. It’s going to take a while to get that cotton-candy taste out of my mouth.
On the bright side (heh) wallpapers now have to sing for their supper, so to speak. They have to justify their existence. And lately I’ve come across a few innovations that do just that.
LED Wallpaper: Genius. It’s wallpaper and lighting in one. Thus far many of the patterns seem a bit… engineery? Not particularly beautiful, considering the potential. And while they’re not terribly easy to find yet in this country, you might try this map of Ingo Maurer retailers: http://www.ingo-maurer.com/en/retailers
Now for the tile-weary, how about waterproof wallpaper? Not the shiny crap from the 1970s, but a new “Wet System” from papermaker Wall & Deco. With a special primer, fiberglass sheet, and finish coat of something mysterious, you end up with a tough, striking alternative to tile. Allegedly. you can apply it over old tile, which could be a giant hassle-saver.
And finally, digital printing is making custom,
“hand made” paper designs a whole lot simpler to produce. Flavor Paper in Brooklyn prints off custom acreage of pretty and peculiar stuff in all shapes and sizes, and numerous colorways.
I am partial to Brooklyn Toile. It makes me think Laurie Spugnardi could work up a righteous Portland Toile; and Sally Brophy ought to be pondering on a Provincetown Pattern.