Since September 2011, I have been on the hunt for good designers. I started by trying graduates of the world’s leading design schools including London’s Central St. Martins and Les Beaux-Arts in Paris, but very quickly through searching on the web and going to design shows the proverbial snowball effect kicked in.
I saw cityscapes by photographers that I thought would look fantastic on a lager scale on a feature wall, or an illustration by a cartoonist that could be a great playful pattern for wallpaper. I started approaching these designers and they told their colleagues and fellow designers about the Wallpapered venture and now I have daily enquiries through the site from aspiring designers.
Although Wallpapered is a London based company, it is developing into a truly international design community. There is enormous artistic talent out there and, in the few short months Wallpapered has been on-line, we already boast a growing design community made up not just of wallpaper designers, but surface designers, cartoonists, illustrators and photographers. I hope that the site will be a reflection of the dynamic artwork and talent there is the world-over. I think that it is progressive to have established brands like Watts featuring on the site along with emerging talents like Louise Tiler, New Designer of the Year 2011.
This week I am pleased to have invited Manuela Tan, a surface designer based on Lulu Island in Canada and Pikelus, a design brand comprising of a two of young female designers from Norway onto the site. The advantage of being a web based platform is that the world is your oyster: Manuela’s Cherry Blossom design could be on a wall in Yorkshire or on a wall as far as the United States soon.
As well as curating the content of the site, Robert Hoare (the founder of Wallpapered and a direct descendant of 19th Century architect George Gilbert Scott) and I spend every day working with a website designer and developers, making the site not only looks aesthetically pleasing, but ensuring it is user friendly too. I speak regularly with Jean de Chimay, (Robert’s co-founder) who heads up production.
We also endeavor that the actual product – the paper and print is of the best quality. Another daily task is processing orders for customers. It is incredibly rewarding seeing a design printed, packaged and dispatched to a customer. We have found the very latest in Japanese digital print technology, ensuring designs are realised into the best high-quality media; murals are also tailored to the customers’ precise product specifications and requirements. This also has the added dividend of minimal waste and is sustainable to the environment.
If we are not busy enough (!) Robert has been asked to judge with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen – (of Changing Rooms fame) - the Wallpaper of the Year competition at The Ideal Home Show at Earl’s Court in London later this month. The winner of the competition not only receives the accolade of best design but is invited to join the Wallpapered design community and have 5 rolls of their design printed for them to keep.
We are really hoping - and have already met - some incredible designers who have entered the competition. Submissions so far this year have been incredibly varied in theme, colour and design. Choosing a winner therefore is mammoth task. It is great to see such adventurous designs being submitted, designs that (with the aid of our technology) can be easily realized into high quality wallpaper, for designers to hopefully sell one day.
It was imperative that the process of sending in designs was as simple as possible: Name, contact details and a jPeg of the design. Just let the designs speak for themselves!
It is the process of choosing (which design will win) that is now our priority. “Another challenge!” I think it would be unfair to disclose what sort of designs I like, but I know that the eventual winner will be an agreement between all the judges. However, I change my mind daily! I wonder how Lawrence is getting on?
I think, while Wallpapered is a commercial venture for the designers, we are adamant that they maintain ownership of their work, so a Wallpapered.com foundation policy renounces exclusivity. Chosen designers are given ownership of their page on the platform to exhibit their work. This page includes their own logo, website links and biography. Customers then order the artwork as a wall mural to their specific wall size. From that order, the designer then earns a commission. Designers wishing to be featured on the site are invited to submit their work for inclusion.
I find it incredibly rewarding to give designers not only a new medium to work on like wallpaper, but also another avenue of revenue for their work too. Whilst writing this blog I have had an extensive chat with a large corporate business and an even more extensive chat with a mum wishing to decorate her child’s room with a feature wall.
On that note… I better get back to work…. This Mum sounds like she means business!
Wallpapered.com is coming out of “beta” in April 2012 so if you would like to join the design community, get in touch.
In a world of Google, Moonpig and Zoopla, Wallpapered.com is exactly what it says it is. However, if you are imagining a website of polite, delicate floral patterns and classical motifs that remind you of your great grandmother’s house, you can think again. This is Wallpaper for a new generation.