Calico Wallpaper, the Brooklyn-based bespoke wallcoverings company, will make its debut in Paris and London this month, launching collections at Maison&Objet today and the London Design Festival next week. Company founders Nick and Rachel Cope—partners in business and life—have been eyeing an expansion into international markets for some time, given a steady uptake in interest from buyers across the globe. To establish the company’s European presence, the pair sought out opportunities in France and the U.K.—markets with deeply rooted wallcovering traditions. “London has a big appetite for wallcoverings,” says Nick Cope. “So, we thought, we have to find a way to sell better in that market.”
The solution: A product launch during the London Design Festival, which kicks off September 14. During the festival, Calico Wallpaper will introduce its Prism collection at SCP, a leading furniture manufacturer and retailer in the city. The Prism collection features patterns that reimagine the subtle, rainbow-colored reflections created when light diffuses through crystals. To develop the idea, Rachel Cope experimented with various prismatic forms and photographed the results, which she then used as a foundation for the wallcovering.
“I was always really taken by the visual effects of crystal refractions in windows,” she says, adding that the idea has been on her mind for years. “It was important to try to capture the feeling of prisms moving and dancing on walls.”
At Maison&Object, which runs through September 10, Calico Wallpaper is presenting a vastly different wallcovering: Singing Sand. The collection is part of a mirage-like installation at Triode called Visions / Perceptions, which explores the connection between material realities and optical illusions and will be on view until October 5. The installation—designed in collaboration between John Hogan and New York-based creatives from Ladies & Gentleman Studio—features a conceptual kinetic sculpture, glassworks from Hogan, and piles of actual sand. The environment mimics the wallcovering’s essence, designed to capture the fluid granularity of desert dunes.
Singing Sand, handcrafted by Rachel Cope, simulates the constant movement of a desert landscape by imitating the way grains of sand slide and shift with the wind, forming meditative patterns. “I’m fascinated by the digital effects of a mirage and I wanted to translate that into a wallcovering,” she says. “I wanted to capture the movement and cadence of the actual sand dunes themselves.”
Calico Wallpaper, known for combining artisanal techniques with digital technologies, won a 2019 NYCxDESIGN Award in the Artisanal Wallcovering category for its Relic Collection, which features layers of translucent paper. The company also recently collaborated with artist Faye Toogood on a collection for Salone del Mobile.
Read more: 10 Product Highlights from Heimtextil 2019