Monday, June 30, 2014

Wallpaper: Timorous Beasties

This installation of ongoing posts about the wonderful world of wallpaper focuses on the company Timorous Beasties, which was founded in Glasgow in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons who met studying textile design at Glasgow School of Art. Their irreverent takes on staples of patterns in wallpaper and fabric have gained them a prestigious place in the world of home furnishings. In addition to wallcoverings and textiles, they now offer cushions, lampshades, rugs, and ceramics.

The traditional Scottish thistle gets a special treatment, looking like an illustration from a 19th century botanical book, but with an edge. The large scale of the pattern brings it into the 21st century!

Their Classic Hunt pattern sees British hunting scenes solarized and overlaid onto a windowpane check. Again, the scale and the fact that the toile-like scenes are solarized make this pattern edgy and modern.

Classic Hunt has a companion in spirit, a pattern Timorous Beasties call Open Season.

In a pattern called Grand Blotch Damask, a traditional damask pattern gets turned into a psychedelic Rorschach test. From far away, it resembles some kind of sumptuous Victorian (or even Art Nouveau!) wallcovering but up close, it is an explosion of graphics.

Speaking of Victoriana, Timorous Beasties have taken the 19th century British penchant for specimen boxes full of insects, fossils, geological samples, and botanical oddities and created patterns with butterflies and moths. The Butterfly and Moth patterns below are stunning, again, because of the scale!

The Napoleonic bee gets a make-over in a pattern called Imperial Apiary.

Ex Libris (Latin for "from the library") is one of their newer lines and is designed to look like the beautiful end papers of old books made from Florentine marbled paper.

And what would a riff on classic European patterns be without a few tweaks to the old toile de jouy. They have created toiles based on several cities including London (shown below--you can see the Gherkin, St. Paul's, and The Eye), New York, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.

I've said it before and I will continue to say that this not your mom's or grandmother's wallpaper. There is an exciting array of wallcoverings being made now. If you are considering something new and interesting for your walls, think about wallpaper...

Happy designing!

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