Category: what’s out there

4-8-15 - Cluck cluck – custom wallpaper in NYC

Papa Poule wallpaper

The mighty chicken - inspiration for the new restaurant Papa Poule and the wallpaper design

Surface designer Candice Kaye and restauranteur Elisa Marshall of Mamannyc recently contacted us to assist in bringing to life their vision for a custom wallpaper for Elisa’s newest NYC food destination, Papa Poule. The new concept, with partners Michelin starred chef Armand Arnal and Benjamin Sormonte, is a french-inspired rotisserie chicken take-out and delivery in the heart of SoHo.

A peek inside Papa Poule in SoHo. Photo by @preserve_us

Designer Candice Kaye with her wallpaper design at Papa Poule

Designer Candice Kaye with her custom wallpaper at Papa Poule

Thus, it was a natural choice to wallpaper the space in a chicken pattern created by Candice. She provided us with her charming sketch that had an almost vintage inspired quality and we consulted on the final repeat pattern, provided options for various scales and then digitally printed the wallpaper in our studio.

Custom wallpaper for Papa Poule by Candice Kaye

Custom wallpaper by Candice Kaye for Papa Poule

This custom wallpaper design adds just the right old-world vibe to the urban location that seeks to recall the owners’ own Sunday evening dinners spent enjoying marinated chicken with their families.

Creating custom wallpaper is one of our favorite aspects of our studio life, as we love helping designers communicate a mood which can transform and define an interior. Our in-house digital wallpaper printing services offer almost endless opportunities for creativity. Pleasure working with you Candice and Elisa!

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2-13-15 - cooper hewitt: immersion room

We are honored to have been selected to record audio clips with our impressions of selected patterns from the Cooper Hewitt archive featured in the new Immersion Room. The Room consists of a huge touch screen table that allows the museum guests to select patterns from the archive and project them onto the walls for a fully immersive visual experience. Audio from various designers, including us, can be heard when the viewer selects certain patterns, adding an interesting layer to the experience. The guest can easily manipulate the pattern scale to create a new rendition of the classic motifs.

Another exciting element of the touch table, is the ability to draw and manipulate your own pattern and see it projected on the walls around you. Once you create your repeat cell, you can adjust scale, match point, overlap and direction – allowing the guest to quickly experience the challenges and joys we face in our own studio when creating repeat patterns. This was a huge hit with museum guests of all ages. On our recent visit to the museum, our daughters could not resist the impulse to create patterns and then run to stand in front of the projection. And they were not alone – a queue quickly formed in front of the table – and a scan of the Instagram hashtag #immersionroom shows the variety of work being created and fun being had.

twenty2 creating in the Immersion Room at the Cooper Hewitt from twenty2 on Vimeo.

The entire Cooper Hewitt Museum is now chock full of experiential exhibits that encourage guests to have a hands-on design experience in many mediums – linking technology and art in a fascinating way – and empowering us all to think outside of the box. The exhibits invite us to participate in design and its’ challenges, suggesting that the next great design solution could come from any one of us.



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12-5-14 - new york at night in 3,454 paintings

We are super intrigued by this stop motion music video made by artist Zachary Johnson for folk band THE SEA THE SEA. Utilizing 3,454 oil paintings, the video visually tells the story of a rainy nighttime cab ride through New York City.

To create this magical rain blurred ride Johnson animated his 3,000 plus paintings, transforming work he made by hand into a digital piece of art. The idea of turning the hand made into digital is something that we often look to when making wallpaper. When digital printing, an artist or designers hand made work is scanned and taken through a process where it becomes a piece of digital art and then we, as the printer, produce into a printed physical product.

Although the music video is not a physical object it does transcend its original form and much like wallpaper, it is a repeatable media that has the ability to create an atmosphere all its own.

Check out the video for yourself: WAITING – New York at Night in 3,454 Paintings – THE SEA THE SEA/Zachary Johnson

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11-12-14 - Matisse: the Cut-Outs

On a recent trip to NYC we visited MoMA to see the Henri Matisse exhibition, The Cut-Outs.

The exhibition focuses on the large scale cut-out works created during the later years of Matisse’s life. Made by a process Matisse described as “drawing with scissors,” the works consist of gouache painted paper that has been cut and arranged in striking compositions. Although the collection in its entirety was outstanding we were appropriately drawn to the large works Matisse made for the walls of his own home.

The Swimming Pool, is a dance of diving blue shapes on a white paper band created to ring the walls of the artists’ burlap papered dinning room. The piece has been carefully restored and is currently displayed on burlap and at its intended height to recreate the physical effect it had in its original space. Check out MoMA’s video about the conservation of this piece, Henri Matisse: Conserving The Swimming Pool.

The Swimming Pool, 1952.

The Swimming Pool, 1952

The Swimming Pool in Matisse's dinning room at the Hotel Regina in Paris, 1952.

Another work that caught our eye was Oceania, the Sky and Oceania, the Sea born on the walls of Matisse’s apartment at the Boulevard Montparnasse. Matisse cut and pinned shapes of sparrows and jellyfish, inspired by his time in Tahiti, creating his own wallpaper of sorts. In fact, the design was translated into a screen-printed textile in limited production.

Oceania, the Sky and Oceania, the Sea on the walls of Matisse's studio. 1946

Oceania, the Sky and Oceania, the Sea in progress, 1946.

Matisse’s walls became an ever-changing, canvas for his cut-outs and therefore a physical cultivation of the ideas he was expressing through his “drawing with scissors.” Much like we do, Matisse filled his personal and professional space with what inspired him, which enabled him to live within his own creations at a time in his life when his ability to travel and explore was limited by illness. Maybe, if we think like Matisse, our walls can become more than just structure. Maybe they can be a platform of our own self expression. What would that mean for our homes? What kind of possibilities could that open up for our wallpapers?



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11-4-14 - helvetica

We have always had a deep interest in typography and are continually encouraging those who work with us to explore the history of graphic design. Recently we introduced our newest employee to Helvetica, a 2007 documentary directed by Gary Hustwit. The feature-length independent film focuses on the history, relevance, and controversy of the beloved and in some cases despised typeface.

Eduard Hoffmann's notebook documenting the creation of Helvetica.

Designed in 1957 by Haas salesman and typeface designer, Max Miedinger, Helvetica was a response to the post-war ideals of modernist design. With its unusually tight spacing and large height the type has become a visual staple in global culture consuming the surfaces of our urban landscapes. The film engages influential designers, such as Massimo Vignelli, David Carson, and Erik Speikermann, in candid conversations about the infamous typeface as well as its relevance in the on going differences between modernist and post-modernist ideas. Whether its underground directing us to the right train on the subway or informing us that dark wash jeans are all we need for the fall season, Helvetica has seemingly taken over the legible world.

We can’t help but notice the fierce connection between typeface and the visual input of our everyday lives. We see it everywhere, do you?

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10-23-12 – Philip Johnson’s Oasis in Fort Worth

Just back from a trip to Forth Worth, Texas where we returned to one of our favorite architectural gems – the Water Gardens, designed in 1974 by the modernists Philip Johnson and John Burgee. A study in contrasts, the Gardens are a series of distinct micro-environments, nestled within an urban center, featuring more than 500 species of plants on over 4 acres.

Standing amid the micro-environments of The Water Gardens

Inspired by “Alice in Wonderland,” Johnson wanted visitors to share Alice’s experience of getting bigger and smaller and never knowing when either would occur. This sense of disorientation and wonder are at play at every turn, as the architects strategically lead the visitor through the environments, along pathways or “processionals” as Johnson referred to them.

Riotously loud water rushes over climbable concrete steps in the Active Pool, while just around the bend, inside a canyon with walls of quietly cascading water, lies the meditative Quiet Pool surrounded by Cypress trees. The deep steps of The Mountain carry you high up to a peaceful, grassy perch above the entire Gardens, while the sunken Aerating Pool draws you deep down with its a wild display of rotating, colored lights. All paths lead back to the Central Square, creating a truly communal experience.

The Active Pool invites you to climb steep, concrete steps amidst loudly rushing waterfalls

Strolling through the depths of the Quiet Pool

The Mountain's uniquely tall steps, designed by Johnson/Burgee for "perching, not reclining."

The light display at the Aerating Pool is amazing at night

Our kids were smitten by every aspect of the Water Gardens, so we would definitely suggest it for architecture (and playground) enthusiasts of all ages.


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8-22-12 - Sol LeWitt at MassMoCA – stripes and shine

MassMoCA - modern art boldly displayed within a complex of 19th century industrial buildings nestled in the hills of Massachusetts

Enjoyed a day alone with Robertson on Saturday - with the highlight being the Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective exhibit at MassMoCA, the impressive modern art museum in North Adams, Massachusetts.

LeWitt's wall drawings are presented on over an acre of specially built walls spanning 3 floors - per the artist's specs

Fans of Sol LeWitt’s bold, graphic art, we were looking forward to experiencing the immense Wall Drawings Retrospective, conceived by Yale University Art Gallery in collaboration with LeWitt before his death in April 2007. This site-specific recreation of the 105 large-scale wall drawings, took nearly six months of intensive drafting and painting by a team of sixty-five artists and art students.

Sol LeWitt's instructions allowed artists to recreate his work at MassMoCA

Following a complex set of rules laid out by LeWitt, the artists were able to painstakingly recreate his masterpieces within this spectacular industrial space, documenting his diverse career from 1967 – 2007. The notion that art is scalable or can be reproduced to fit different venues is so exciting to witness. Would be fun to apply the same concept to our wallpaper – playing with location specific pattern scale for each client.

I love stripes.

This exhibit really resonated with us, as we have always been fascinated with walls as a canvas and exploring how wall graphics could transform a space. I was most thrilled by the Late Career pieces that featured a tone on tone black high gloss mirror finish juxtaposed with the same black color in flat matte. I love gloss/matte combinations of all kinds – interior paint, wallpapers, art, fashion. But, this was sheer heaven. The intensely glossy surface reflected back all of the works around the room in a blurry wondrous shine.

Wall Drawing #822 from 1997 - flat black and glossy black acrylic paint

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4-27-12 – delirious daffodils in litchfield

Each Spring we look forward to visiting “Daffodil Hill“, a wondrous display of daffodils cascading across the rocky hillsides adjacent to the local Laurel Ridge Grass-Fed Beef farm in Litchfield, CT. Originally planted by Remy and Virginia Morosani in 1941 across 2 acres, the 10,000 bulbs have been separated and replanted each year in order to create the current 15 acres of showy blooms. Open to the public in April and May, this is a must see.

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3-14-12 – wrinkled paper art in madrid

Lucky enough to visit the amazing Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain today with Robertson. One of our favorite moments was interacting with Liliana Porter’s “Wrinkle Environment Installation I.” The piece, created in 1969, consists of wrinkled offset paper wrapping around 3 walls. The added bonus – stacks of the same paper are attached to one wall – meant for you to use. Make a paper airplane, ball it up, write on it. Whatever you choose. Then keep it or toss it into the lucite bin to become a part of the installation. To imagine all of the people who have have seen this before us and what may have accumulated in that bin over the last 40 years…


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3-13-12 – stucco walls that sing in segovia

Had the immense pleasure of visiting the Ancient town of Segovia, Spain today. Just an hour or so north of Madrid, this city is best know for its Roman aqueduct, amazing churches and a castle so picturesque that Walt Disney supposedly used it as the basis for the castle at Disneyland. What I found most magical, was the intensely ornate and varied stucco carvings that decorated most of the building facades. This technique, esgrafiado, began as a means to conceal the multiple materials that may have been used to construct buildings, as well as to add a protective layer. Often minerals or ashes are added to add a subtle, almost luminous undertone of color – especially in the glow of late afternoon sun. Still used in current buildings today, the carvings add a gloriously elegant air to each structure.

Walking the streets was like strolling through a kaleidoscope – a new pattern with each step – without any repetition. What an amazing thing it must be to live in this town and be immersed in this wonderland of design every day.

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