The latest design trends are all about wallpapers and their revival. It is a great way to give a fresh look to any space. There are many different styles to choose from including floral patterns, trompe l’oeil and classic wallpapers with intricate woodwork and fresco-style motifs.
However, there are some new companies who are taking wallpaper design to a whole new level and even using interactive designs. For example, a wallpaper designed in collaboration with Vodaphone and the British Library represents bookshelves full of Shakespeare’s works and when you scan the text with a smartphone it reads the text out loud to you. Another company called Rebel Walls is a company that works online and prints to order, you simply give them the dimensions of your room and the type of wallpaper design you want and they will make it especially for you.
The French company, Zuber et Cie, is one of the last manufacturers of hand-crafted scenic wallpapers. Their nineteenth-century landscape papers had a brief golden era in Europe and North America before fading into obscurity. These magnificent papers transform rooms and evoke the beauty of the natural world, taking you into an exotic destination or a dramatic period in history. Their artists hand-paint the skies and meticulously block print the rest of the imagery onto finely made paper.
Zuber’s artisans are still at work today. They continue to captivate present-day patrons with their magnificent scenic wallpapers. In a time when wallpaper was indicative of one’s station in life, these papers were treasured by the upper class and even by royalty. They were often hung in large scale on staircases and other high walls in stately homes.
Scenic wallpapers enjoyed a brief heyday in the first decade of the 1800’s and were manufactured until the 1860’s when production began to decline. While traditional stylized floral and geometric motifs continued to be popular, there was also a move toward more abstract patterns that were inspired by contemporary art and the newest trends in fashion. Brightly coloured, zig-zag, jazz patterns vied with Cubist-style motifs for the attention of fashionable design aficionados.
In the end, however, the economic depression of the 1930’s and the rise of monochrome paints killed the fad for patterned wallpaper. Many companies went out of business and others reverted to making only low-cost products. The only exception was for a brief moment when the oil crisis of 1973 caused wallpaper sales to surge, but that was short-lived and most manufacturers were forced to rethink their product lines. The market now is more diverse than ever and there are many designers who produce bespoke designs on demand for their clients. There is even a German firm that produces wallpaper with phosphorescent stripes that light up in the dark; this type of wallpaper can be used to cover stairs or other hard-to-reach surfaces. papier peint francais