April 27, 2011

Vintage wallcoverings…

My earliest memory of wallpaper designs was in the apartment that I grew up in. It was a muted color landscape with metallic highlights. Strange how I could remember the details so well, and now I'm thinking the metallic touch was quite brilliant actually. What prompted me to write this post wasn't really about wallpaper actually, but rather Lucienne Day's textile designs. As I was reading an article about Robin & Lucienne Day, the fabric images that were shown in the story reminded me so much of a wallpaper exhibition that I went to in 1995 at the Cooper-Hewitt. So I went through my archive and dug up the booklet (shown above) from that exhibition – titled "Kitsch to Corbusier, wallpaper from the 1950s". Did you know Le Corbusier designed a line of solid-color wallpaper in 1932? The National Design Museum started collecting wallpaper in 1900 and now houses over ten thousand wallcoverings dating from the late 17th century to the present. Below are just a few of the designs from the booklet that I scanned in, some of them are still very much relevant, don't you think? Click here to view their collection online if you are interested to see more.

"Mauer" ("Wall") designed by Le Corbusier, 1959.

"Opera" designed by Saul Steinberg, 1953.

"Happy Leaves" designed by Vera Neumann, 1950.

"Overlay" designed by Gene McDonald, 1953.

{ all images scanned from "Kitsch to Corbusier, wallpapers from the 1950s" exhibition booklet }

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