October 1, 2003
Phillip O’Sullivan’s Wallpaper
A panel of experts from the industry convened to evaluate the producibility and marketability of emerging designers’ work.
Phillip O’Sullivan, a student at Parsons School of Design, looked at “images of rooms where wallpapers had been layered and over time had peeled away. I liked seeing a history on the wall. So I came up with a collection of designs that would be silk-screened or digitally printed with laser-cut holes. I imagine manufacturing would be expensive, so it might be $100 a roll. Who is it for? There’s a younger audience for wallpaper these days. It’s a trend that’s coming back.”
LSB: It’s interesting that you have a story behind what you’ve designed. The challenge is to furnish the room in a way that balances the design, because the wallpaper is quite busy.
LC: Are you proposing the molding as part of your product? Because for me it’s very much about that window you’ve described, and I’m wondering how you worked that into a saleable product so it becomes more like art than wallpaper. You’re talking about a very articulated opening to another style of print, and that’s where I think it could be very interesting. That’s a whole new level to wallpaper that would be interesting to market.
AM: You have layers of narrative. You’ve expressed that as something that would be specific to the person who buys it. So you might even want to push it that way, make it very unique, or produce it in limited editions that people could feel very connected to. If you have a strong story and a strong fit with the person who buys it, you could have a really strong connection.
PM: I’d like to see you collaborate with different photographers, maybe come out with a decal that people can stick on in the little frames themselves or a system where you could actually take your own photograph and somehow apply it, like a family portrait.
ND: I was getting images of jeans with tears in them, which now sell at ridiculously high prices, and clothes that look like they’ve been worn by people who sleep on the sidewalk every night. So maybe there’s a way to layer the wallpaper and come in and swipe off the top, so that it really is peeling. That might be a big trendy hit. I mean it’s just grungy enough to go over probably. You could make it therapeutic to pick away at the wallpaper.