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Lifestyle June 15, 2015

WALL TALK

For many people, wallpaper evokes memories of gaudy prints and peeling corners — but that’s all about to change…

Digitally printed wallpaper has been launched by Feathr, a company working with graphic designers and artists to bring bold patterns to life. Feathr’s mantra? ‘More art. Less decoration.’

It was an unfruitful search for wallpaper for their London home that led Tom and Anne Puukko to start a new business . The couple found a large gap in the market between very expensive designer rolls and play-it-safe designs suited for people with interior fatigue. “It’s almost a disease that takes over people’s lives,” says Tom. “They go to Ikea, buy a few framed things and say ‘I’ve done my house now.’”

Inspired by the lack of choice, the pair founded Feathr with Creative Director Oli Green. Originally from Grey Lynn in Auckland, Oli worked with Tom and Anne at an advertising agency in London. The team now collaborates with artists who submit designs for wallpaper for which the public can vote. So far, over 300 artists have submitted more than 750 designs and the first rolls of wallpaper will be delivered worldwide soon.

Digital printing, however, allows us to work with artists who do quite experimental work, treating wallpaper more as an art form.

Oli says working with a variety of artists allows people to choose a design that reflects their own style. “People are a bit more playful with how they express themselves these days. The conversation becomes more about how your home can truly be a reflection of the stage of your life you are in.”

Production dictated by demand also allows artists to play an active role in deciding upcoming trends. “Traditionally, the wallpaper industry had to do print runs of a thousand rolls to make it worthwhile,” says Tom. “They had to play it safe to avoid being left with rolls people didn’t buy. Digital printing, however, allows us to work with artists who do quite experimental work, treating wallpaper more as an art form.”

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Methods of applying wallpaper are changing also and the company is exploring new ways of making adhesion and removal easier. “As well as opening the market to renters. it means you can refresh your home every year,” says Tom. “You can think of the four walls in your room as a canvas and life can then be a celebration of independent talent and the amazing stuff in your home.”

A new pool of talent will be explored over the next few months as Feathr opens its doors once again to new design submissions. The team would love to see more New Zealand designers involved, especially those who might offer a Polynesian flavour as an alternative to nondescript walls.

“We want to be the opposite of the background,” says Tom. “We want to be the talking point.”

Visit Feathr’s  website here

Words: Melanie Dower

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