Editor: Cigalle Hanaor
Authors of Essays: Timothy Brittain-Catlin, Jane Audas and Charles Stuckey
Publisher: Black Dog Publishing
Date Published: 2006
No, you did not misread the title – the words ‘cutting edge’ and ‘wallpaper’ have actually been used in the same sentence. When I saw this book I was intrigued and had to buy it. You see, I have a long history with wallpaper. A love and hate relationship. My Nan was the ‘Interior Designer’ of our house and – despite the fact that she is English and from my experience the English have good decorating sense – all the bedrooms were landed with bland, flowery wallpaper. I am very experienced in the underachieving shitty designs of the past (a veteran in fact), yet I had always felt that wallpaper was medium which had never been given enough attention or passion. I felt its potential to be great.
‘The Cutting Edge of Wallpaper’ and the modern wallpaper design movement is the answer to my shallow interior design prayers. The book sets out to dispel the current stuffy, ugly stereotype of wallpaper amd replace it with a breath of fresh air. I feel this will be helpful in ‘softening’ the soullessness of modern furniture and decorating. Perhaps it will help bring a focus back on character in design, rather than bleakness. Yet the book does not ignore the past, with essays on the history of wallpaper and previous methods of production and application. It also features essays on modern wallpaper. It is loosely divided into different styles of wallpaper, with each designer having their works grouped together under their name. This helps (rather than randomly throwing wallpapers together) as you can see their style, continuity and grow a sense of each designers ideals. There is also a short description of the designers background. In order to let the wallpapers take center stage the layout is white, functional, with small submissive fonts.
As for the wallpapers themselves there is a good mix. Surprisingly enough the floral designs are still retained yet seem to really take advantage of the beauty of nature, rather than the sentimentality towards it. The works can be stimulating, humourous, geometric, abstract, creepy, sexual and beautiful. Some are more hardcore than others and probably couldn’t be used other than on a small feature wall because of their overwhelming content. Others seem to be purely experimental art and not meant to be used in everyday homes. The wallpapers are shown in rooms as well as just a print of the design.
By the end you will be thinking ‘Why the hell shouldn’t I get wallpaper?’. It can be read as a catalog for whats available or considered interesting artwise. It has inspired me to perhaps chose wallpaper when I redecorate my room soon (if I can get ahold of some of the designs). Unfortunately there isn’t an Index which lists the contact details of the designers. The book has something for most audiences – from the browser to the Interior Designer.
Favorites include: Louise Body, Cole & Son, Fromental, Jane Gordon Clark, The Magnificent Chatwin Brothers, Timorous Beasties, Absolute Zero, Birgit Amadori, Deborah Bowness, Nama Rococo, Ten and Don, Markus Benesch, Dan Funderburgh, Clare Coles, Antoine et Manuel, Blik, Ich&Kar and Lene Toni Kjeld (basically the whole book).
♥♥♥♥ – 4/5