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Enfants terribles or creative geniuses: Wallcoverings that push boundaries


You’ve heard their names many times and you’ve seen their work in magazines, at trade shows and in design awards lineups the world over. I’m speaking of some of the most edgy surface designers we know: Trove from Manhattan, Timorous Beasties from Glasgow and Tracy Kendall from London. The three share a level of eccentricity, creativity and complete fearlessness when they create designs that are as inspired and beautiful as they are edgy and provocative. They are hugely successful but we like to think they still design for design’s sake and that is what makes our design world turn.


Timorous Beasties are known for surreal motifs often filled with insects and reptiles but we love their Toile de Jouy patterns, sardonically depicting socially real situations in several cities around the world. A favorite is this inside out lampshade called “Skater”.


Perhaps best enjoyed in small doses, Marble Gum, is about as bold as it wallpaper can get. We love the intense colors of Timorous Beasties’ take on traditional marbleized pattern.


Pushing the design envelope into the third dimension, Tracy Kendall could be considered the queen of mixed media wall coverings. Tracy combines text with texture for a collection of beautiful, intelligent, thought provoking and often whimsical design with a nod to masters of literature.


Tracy’s works are endlessly imaginative and often created specifically for individual projects. We loved the detail of her Jigsaw collection with individual pieces mounted separately to create a wall of texture and color.


Last and by no means least there’s Manhattan based Trove, featuring here its Nyx collection which is as beautiful as it is eerie. Trove have turned image manipulation into an art form and continue to serve up some of the most dreamlike designs in the world of design.


Trove’s sepia shaded, metallic August collection, a depiction of nobility in negatives, is a study in lost identities as history may remember noble names but faces and personas begin to fade. The collection launched in spring 2012 but we still see it featured often enough to know it’s become a classic.


Finally a Modenus favorite is Auva which originally launched in 2009 but is still so visible today. Auva and August are two of six designs that were added to the permanent collection at Brooklyn museum this past spring.

  • Courtney Price

    that metallic August collection is interesting… liking that!

  • EncoreDecor

    Ha. Love them all. How can we convert the clients? Start small like a powder room? Beautiful Vi.


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