October 1, 2009
No Wallflowers Here
Maharam delves into its image library to produce a fresh collection of wall-coverings.
Relegated to dentists’ offices and hotel lobbies, wall murals tend toward the tacky. But Maharam, the New York–based textile company, now offers an alternative to the common sunset scenes and bland museum posters. Its latest venture, Digital Projects, is a meticulously curated collection of digitally generated wall-coverings by emerging and established artists, photographers, illustrators, and graphic, fashion, and textile designers, from Karel Martens and Fred Tomaselli to Vik Muniz and Paul Smith (shown right).
The idea was originally conceived as Wallpaper LAB, a company founded in 2006 by the independent art publisher and curator Ron Keyson, who approached Maharam to help him extend his initiative beyond the art world. Michael Maharam, Maharam’s principal and CEO, saw the venture as the perfect partnership. His company had access to many patterns that didn’t translate into wovens, and the initiative presented designers with another outlet for their wares at a time when galleries and auction houses weren’t selling as much. According to Maharam, the wall-coverings’ cost will fall somewhere between not “terribly expensive,” and “somewhat dear.” “It’s highly professional,” he says. “It’s not going to end up being something along the lines of a Dalí poster at the Met.”
The wall-coverings can be washed with mild soap and warm water. They meet fire codes with a Class A rating.
The installations were designed for a variety of uses, from private homes and corporate offices to hospitality and health-care settings.
The archival wall-covering substrate is a latex-impregnated cellulose (48 percent cellulose, 35 percent latex, and 17 percent nylon). Each pattern comes in three laminate options: uncoated, matte, and glossy.
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