A Return to Wonderfully Whimsical Wallpaper | 344 | Area Environments President, Diane Perry

This is Convo By Design and on the show today you are going to hear about a company that is changing the way you look, design and style the verticals, the upstanding barriers…. Yeah, we’re talking about wallpaper.

So much has changed when it comes to design in general over the past 10 years, but dramatic changes in wall coverings have been a major focus for many creatives who were actively seeking new design frontiers to conquer. I would say the last major developments in wallpaper came in the 1970’s with new and experimental colors, metallic and flocks. 

Interesting to note that wallpaper dates back to the 16th century, much of which was used to design the interiors of cabinetry. By the 20th century, it was ubiquitous. Designs were simple at first, floral motifs to make the repeat an easier process. Block printed with different colors stamped over the last to create the desired effect. 

Over time, the process in Europe got to be incredibly intricate and quality control got better. Flocks became popular using a powdered wool that was the byproduct of the wool industry. Think about that idea for a moment, what a remarkable use for a waste product. Until, the aforementioned 1970’s pretty much abused the concept in unimaginable ways combined with metallics and a color palette spilled over from the psychedelic 1960’s.

Backtracking for a moment, around the 17th century, chinoiserie style papers were coming out of Asia and could be found in the stylish boutiques of Paris and London. These were painted, not printed with non-repeating compositions with vivid color that lent the feel of true luxury.

Many designers have shared with me a trepidation for wall paper on the part of their clients. The rationales all make sense. A still fresh repulsion from the 1980’s and 90’s. A fear that it becomes instantly dated or clashes with the furnishings, fixtures and art. That final point is the one I want to focus on. The art. And that is really a good point because the proliferation of art at all price point levels has exploded over the past 8-10 years in the US. And this leads me into my conversation with Diane Perry, president of Area Environments.  First about the company. Founded in 2012, Area Environments is a studio that curates originals from contemporary artists and with that, produces large format wallpapers and murals. This feels like the natural progression for the medium. Thinking about this differently, in a perfect world, one could build the space, style and scale around the art… But that isn’t realistic. So what about finding the art that you love and stretching, molding and conforming it to the space you have. See, that makes sense.

Diane Perry has been with Area Environments since 2018 and has an extensive art background. She is a photographer, graphic designer who originally studied fashion design.  And that as the primer for my chat with Diane.

Are you subscribing to the podcast, if not, please do so you get every episode automatically when they are published. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts and now, you can find us on DesignNetwork dot Org, a destination dedicated to podcasts, all things design and architecture so make sure to check it out.

Thank you, Diane. I really enjoyed our time together. Thank you Walker Zanger and ThermaSol for your partnership. And, thank you for listening and subscribing to the podcast. Keep those emails coming convo by design at Outlook dot com. Adding the word “pleasure” to our architectural aspirations will make life better for all who choose to embrace this idea. See if you can add this word to what you do every day and see what happens. I am looking forward to seeing you again in person at a design event near you very soon. Until then, be well and try to take today first.