True features of decorative art, wallpaper quickly became iconic in both style and trend, as it reflects the customs and mentality of the times. Today, more than ever, wallpaper is enjoying a rekindled youth. With increasingly captivating designs and new materials, these wallpapers are furnishing accessories which transform the perception of space, create worlds, personalize their contexts, and which in some cases protect them from the outside. But looking to the future, what will they become? A glimpse is offered by the temporary exhibition “Papiers peints du futur” (painted wallpapers of the future), which opened in April and will run until 31 December 2018 at the “Musée du Papier Peint” (Museum of Painted Wallpaper) in Rixheim.
The exhibition is in four sections, which introduce the public to examples of technological and aesthetic innovation: technological wallpapers (soundproofed papers, papers which block Wi-Fi for health reasons, etc.); embellished wallpapers (fitted with resin pearls, basalt fibres, embroidered ribbons, decorated with rings, drops, etc.); and technological innovation at the service of design (phosphorescent wallpaper, LED wallpaper, etc.). The last section is dedicated to French crafts people: Aurélie Mossé, Alexandre Poulaillon and Atelier D’Offard.
Most of the items on display are already available on the market while some are still undergoing research and testing. This is not, however, “science fiction”: they will soon be in many homes.
CREATIVE IDEAS TO FURNISH AND INNOVATE. Wall decoration is undergoing profound changes that could revolutionize our lifestyles. The current trend is to increasingly customize furnishing items: the future will see the home as an environment that adapts fully to our needs and tastes. Today, more than ever, the concepts of decoration, design, and functionality, are being questioned. But wallpaper is not only intended to be beautiful. It can also incorporate technical innovations to improve everyday life. Already featuring noise-damping, water proofing, and magnetic and WiFi-blocking features, the wallpapers of the future can even be anti-seismic, by supporting the walls during an earthquake to help them from collapsing. Wallpaper is thus not about latest design alone, but also about product development. Many different materials are being chosen for the new decorative wallpapers. Besides the classic cellulose we are seeing nylon, expanded vinyl, and even linen and other fabrics. Scientific research into paper or innovative materials, carried out at the specialized labs of companies and research institutes, is pushing quickly forward towards a not-so-distant future.
EXPERIMENTING WITH STYLE. Whether hand-made in limited series or industrially manufactured, wallpaper is no longer a simple flat image. It is increasingly combining special reliefs and textures and some renowned designers are working for companies designing ornamental motifs made of embroidered ribbons, micro-resin pearls or slate fragments. Prestigious wallpapers are decorated with wooden reliefs, basalt fibres, Swarovski crystals and much more besides. Some craftspeople are combining digital printing with screen printing to experiment with new combinations. And although highly technological, these items are still well in touch with aesthetics. Digital printing adds value and can be used on most surfaces: phosphorescent light to create backgrounds or special atmospheres.
DECORATING WITH ART TO STAND OUT AMONG PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. While early on wallpaper was used as a wall-covering solution to cover up imperfections, it soon acquired a decorative and artistic value. Wallpapers became used as a display of social status, to set owners apart. Over the centuries, patterns and fabrics have been reinvented and experimented with following the habits and fashions of society. Thus, we have had pastoral landscapes, Greek ruins, simple and combined decorative motifs, tropical settings, without forgetting the Chippendale and Art Nouveau styles, and the trompe l’oeil technique, which gives spatial depths.
Experimentation has reached new aesthetic levels and if, on one hand, there is a return to the past with vintage, damask and floral themes, on the other, our imagination is pushed ever forward by photographic hyperrealism, a technique whereby photographs are enlarged and reproduced on paper.
THE WALLPAPER MUSEUM IN RIXHEIM (FRANCE). The museum is in Rixheim, Alsace. It is a well-known research centre in the field. It displays not only the finished wallpapers, but also the manufacturing technology, and includes two surprising machines that date back to the late nineteen-hundreds. The collection includes some 130,000 documents, which are displayed in rotation as temporary exhibitions, from painted panoramic wallpapers, to wallpapers decorated with printed landscape motifs, which were manufactured starting from 1804. It is a journey to experience worldwide over the centuries.
“PAPIERS PEINTS DU FUTUR”
1 April 2017 – 31 December 2018
Another colour, wallpaper
Atelier e design Tracy Kendall, Margate, United Kingdom
Canson paper coloured fragments sewn onto non-woven fabric
Colour Tec – Glow in the dark, ref. 96157
Marque Architects Paper®
Manufacture As Creation, Gummersbach, Germany
Non-woven fabric, rotary screen printing, phosphorescent material, sand application
Art Luminaire, 2015
Manufacture Marburg, Kirchhain, Germany
Non-woven fabric, vinyl, LED fibre-optic illuminator
Magnet wallpaper Cockatile, editor: Groovy Magnets, Antwerp, Belgium
Vinyle, inclusion de métal ferreux
Aves, embroidered wallpaper
Studio Custhom editor, London
Design, Jemma Ooi and Nathan Philpott
Manufactured in Leicester (United Kingdom)
Non-woven fabric, computer-made mechanical embroidery.
Wall Couture collection, 2012
Manufactured in Marburg, Kirchhain, Germany, ref. 52203
Designed by Ulf Moritz
Non-woven fabric, matte background, mechanical printing, rotary screen printing, 3-tone and pearl-flocked.
Collection for children, Maître d’Offard et l’ornementarium
Design and graphics: François-Xavier Richard, 2016
Manufacturing: Atelier d’Offard, Tours, France
Pressure printing, tempera strips on Kraft plain paper and flock printing on silk cellulose.