Oh Dear, I’m having a pang of Slavic guilt again, because I feel that I been negligent of my readers lately…To tell the truth, this chapter in my musings with that intrepid designer Aurélien has been brewing for several weeks. This title was really determined by my lively and totally serendipitous encounter in Toronto recently. I was packed into Aurel’s carpet bag for the voyage to visit the “Out-laws” and to tour the new additions to two of the most important museums there: the Crystal excrescence metastising out of the elegant brick-work of the Royal Ontario Museum; and the warm curves of Douglas Fir that enhance the severity of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Can you tell which Aurel and I prefer???
The second day there, we were exploring their rapidly gentryfying Leslieville area, when we encountered a lady walking a large multi-spotted white bulldog. The dog was very genial in spite of his name: Shredder!, and his owner was introduced to us by Aurel’s brother-in-law as Joanne Purchase. Our subsequent conversation soon centered around Interior Design, when we discovered that she was a publicist and writer-researcher for the Wallpaper Council of North America…. As you can imagine, when she showed us her back garden Pavilion created entirely in charcoal, white, green and magenta; Aurel started taking photos for an article. We were introduced to her husband Will and creator of the Pavilion out-door living room Aurel set a date for the following afternoon, and over some lovely Martinis and delicious melon-proschutto wraps, we were shown the very latest in wallpaper patterns and new printing techniques.
So, my dear Design Fiends, here’s the lowdown on a subject that has been niggling in the lower-back of my cerebellum for several months now: PATTERN IS BACK WITH A VENGANCE! The new collections that we were shown confirmed my suspicions… The twist on all of the 60’s and 70-‘s styles are referenced with new colour schemes, the modern technology of computer aided printing, and marvelous mixing of scale sizes that were never seen in the eras past. I have heard several names for these new trends, and the one that fits for Aurel and me is The New Baroque.
So, my dears, let Aurelien and me tell you a bit more about these new trends that were so well illustrated by the special portfolios collected by Joanne Purchase: the old English and European Damask patterns from the late 1700’s and popularized with the Museum reproductions of Williamsburg and other collections and restorations of antique furniture and fabrics are pared down to their essential shapes, but they are cleaned of extraneous details and then the nuance of several similar colours woven or printed together is changed to high contrast colour combinations like the late 70’s pairs of cream and expresso, and aqua and chocolate, pearl grey and charcoal. The scale is also greatly changed to larger repeats of 10” to 30” sizes, rather than the original sizes of 8” to 12”. The old mix of “sea” colours like aquas mixed with lime green and clear blues, or the “harvest” series of avocado, gold and burnt orange is very much back. (Between us mature design connoisseurs, those new Gen X & Y babies think they are new and fresh, since they have not lived through them!)
The other influences I have noticed are the new types of printing with embossing, pearlized and opalescent inks, and new types of removable and re-positionable glues. That means in these less stable times, you are able to move the new wallpaper with you! I recall the horror and expense of scraping off the old plastic chrome mylar vinyls of the disco and psychedelic eras… I must also tell you that most of the new papers and inks are becoming increasingly more eco-friendly, with low VOC’s (that’s organic volatile compounds…otherwise known as that terrible smelly chemical odour that used to last weeks) . The papers and vinyls are now becoming bio-degradable and recyclable.
Dears, we must be ever more sensitive to the future generations and our legacy is still precarious. One last thing, before I must go, I would like to leave you dear readers with the following list: Bronze and copper are the new Stainless steel; Pearlescent and brushed finishes are the new chrome and mylar; Magenta and roses are the new rust and terra cotta,; and flocking is back, but it will glow from the new electro-luminescent (what a word!) inks… I”ll tell you more next time, so you can know how to mix and match the new patterns easily without giving the family a collective migraine headache, and you won’t need a double Martini to survive the newly trendy living-room that your best friend just did over! Do let me hear your comments. All of My Tasteful Best for enjoying our short summer, your dear Greta vonSchmedlapp, Design Sleuth.