Dress Your Walls
Wallpaper design has formed a significant part of my career in interior design. Its potential is vast and its versatility is endlessly alluring. In the 7 years I’ve been working with British wallpaper manufacturer, Osborne & Little, I’ve discovered new inspirations, methods of production and even innovative ways of using the wallpapers in my design projects. The longstanding collaboration has been a brilliant platform to experiment with pattern, colour and visual references from the annals of design history and far-flung wonderlands on a larger scale.
Although my first port of call when defining a collection of wallpapers is to tap into the zeitgeist, the trends and the way people are living, the visual inspirations I draw on vary wildly. This extends as far as the bounty and embellishment of Baroque architecture, elaborate King Louis XIV gardens, the unexplored plains of tropical jungles, Koi pond Chinoiserie and the geometry of Moroccan design. There is also almost always a geographical element, be it the rhythms of Cuba, Florentine grandeur, the colourful intensity of an Indian Holi Day celebration or the subvertable tradition of the classic English country home. However, throughout the design process for every new collection, I never look to time periods or aesthetic movements too deeply, as this can spiral into pastiche or parody. To keep my designs eclectic and unexpected, it’s important to combine both historical influence and vivid imagination.
I also wanted to create a collection brought to life with hand-drawn charm. Chateau, for example, has a palatial, nostalgic feel with its romantic curves and details. The original design, as with many of my wallpapers, was drawn by hand with the forensic specificity of Victorian botanical drawings. I wanted the drawings to be architecturally technical to give a sense of established grandeur to any room where this paper is hung. The hand-drawn charm of the wallpapers, whether a watercolour render or an oil painting, is retained through the digitising process where the team at Osborne & Little and I can determine the final look and feel of each paper. This process is a fusion of analogue and digital, a mathematical jigsaw of scale, proportion, and repeat.
This process is even more intensive and interesting when it comes to mural-style wallpapers, such as Tiger Grove. This is down to the technology used with Osborne & Little to create these designs - going from cylindrical printing where the repeats must be tighter and more condensed, to digital printing which means the repeats can be sparser, giving the feeling of a scene rather than a pattern. With Tiger Grove and Deia Meadow you can feel as if you're truly amongst the wildlife in a fantastical location from your very own home.
Whether you opt for a more traditional pattern repeat or an on-trend mural look, don’t shy away from bringing colour and pattern into any room with striking wallpaper. Not only will a hand-drawn, detailed wallpaper give any space, be it a bedroom, a reception room or even a bathroom, a unique feel, but it will invariably lift your spirits. Another benefit of hanging a bold, maximalist wallpaper is that it provides something of a list of colour ingredients you can apply to the rest of your space. Pluck colours from the repeat and use these to choose your soft furnishings and accessories. So too can you consider these wallpapers artworks in themselves. The greatest pleasure is that the more you look, the more you’ll see.