ColorTherapy: Color in Wallpaper at ICFF (plus Charcoal and Mauve!)

ColorTherapy: Color in Wallpaper at ICFF (plus Charcoal and Mauve!)

Mark Chamberlain
May 20, 2008

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is back in town, so let's forget about paint this week and talk about other things, especially wallpaper...

But first, I'll mention a few things about color. Is it my imagination, or is Black the new Brown? If so, I'm right on point because I'm about to paint my third black room in a row, but more on that in the future. On the whole, I saw a lot of black and white, charcoal and mauve, grey and splashes of magenta. I suppose there's only so much color you can have in your kitchen fixtures, but even the wallpaper and textile designers were showing a lot of greys and muted palettes. If so, color forecasters were off for the year, as I thought we were entering a "Blue Period."

It's easy to write about textiles and colorful wallpaper, so let me focus on that. I saw lots of new things, from lush to retro to steely, and here are a few of my picks…

I wish I'd done this myself, and perhaps I may yet. These digitally printed wallpapers are beautiful, intimate watercolors of flowers blown up to scale. You feel as if the artist had tiptoed into your home under cover of night and painted your walls himself.

These bespoke papers are hand-stitched from vintage wallpapers. Completely original, with hints of Chinoiserie. Stunning.

Ferm Living has a collection inspired by the Scandinavian landscape, which appeals to the Stoic Scandinavian in me on several levels. Arne Jacobsen for the 21st century.

Graham & Brown has some slightly retro patterns without the heavy quotation marks. Their selection is extensive.

I didn't know that Missoni has a home collection, I was grinning ear to ear. You can make your apartment look like one of their sweater sets from the 70s.

Another big smile—file this under "Tertium Quiddam."

I'm a big kid myself, and love children's items. Note the fun shapes in this fabric pattern. See website for birds, flowers and patterns for grown-ups.

And not leastly: I was surprised to bump into one of my art-school buddies, who has started his own wallpaper company with his wife. Their graphic and photographic images of nature capture a whisper-of-eternity sense of movement that is subtle, haunting, bold and delicate, delivered in a color language that is right up my alley. Skoal and good work, Randy.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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