Wallpaper and pattern trends

As my love for wallpaper continues to grow, I’m always wondering why it was so unpopular in and around the 90’s. From my perspective it seemed to start becoming unpopular in the mid-eighties. The trend only really started to turn upward in the mid 2000’s.

This kind of cycle is common with many things. Moustaches is another one that holds interest for me. I think it might be on its way back, as soon as the Movember charity initiative stops convincing everyone that moustaches are so cool that you can only have them in one month of the year.

Wallpaper and moustaches are two things that I thought were no-nos growing up. Now I really like them. But my question about wallpaper is a difficult one because there were so many really good patterns around during the time when it was so unpopular.

I think that the trend has something to do with symmetry. The best pattern art of that time was used in ways very different from how wallpaper is used.  Pieces of pattern were used as parts of other design to create a contrast in texture. Or the pattern did not have a strict repeat. Pattern was asymmetric or was used in an asymmetrical way. And pattern was used mostly for graphic design and not in décor. Anyone who used pattern in décor, like Karim Rashid, was considered a bit out there and a too experimental for the mainstream.

A wacky asymmetrical 80s pattern
From http://fuckyeah80stuff.tumblr.com

A pattern that lends itself to the 90s rave culture
From http://www.vectorgenius.com/vectors/pattern/?page=3

One of the most intriguing situations about pattern in the 80’s is the life’s work of the New York artist Keith Haring. His murals are so representative of the design of the time. He repeated elements in his design but some would not consider his work as pattern. And you wouldn’t really be able to create wallpaper repeats from his art. Luckily for his legacy, his work is now considered art, while wallpaper often battles (like his supporters did) to have that label applied.

Keith Haring
From http://nexteditiononline.com/obey-x-keith-haring/

But we also have to look at the fact that many of the wallpaper patterns prior to the decline in popularity were and can still be considered pretty awful. The intensity and concentration of pattern seemed to reach a critical mass in the early 80’s. Did people eventually just overdo it until they just had to run away or stop?

80s wallpaper pattern overdone
From http://things-we-heart.blogspot.com/2009/10/decor-to-die-for-love-your-wallswrap.html

Trends are influenced by many things. Love for things past can infiltrate trends, but really valuing what past design teaches us, is something I treasure. Seeing and understanding how people of a certain time feel about design and design trends is so important. And finding a way to bring something new to a thing that still carries a few negative connotations is truly an art.

Would you consider any of the patterns here trend setting?

Bloemfontein pattern

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Bloemfontein pattern

Sublime symmetry. This round floral pattern can be used from any direction. So it’s very adaptable. As with all our patterns, choose from colours below or ask about customising for your own bespoke colours and size. Our wallpaper is custom printed in panels and not rolls. Sold by the square metre and printed to client wall dimensions. The panels will match the height of your walls, so waste is minimised. The price varies according to how much you order. Orders above 20 square metres are R340 per square metre. Don’t forget to ask...

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Aloe

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Aloe

The iconic african plant with magical properties. Small karoo town charm with heaps of class. This pattern is a simple repeat of a flowering Aloe ferox. It’s another one of those icons of the Cape and other great South African areas. Here’s version with a yellow background. Click here to see an application of this in a...

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Quagga Crest

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Quagga Crest

Our signature pattern. Playful and cute. As with all the digitally printed wallpapers, this pattern comes in whatever colour combination you would like. It has three and two colour design versions. It is not yet available in fabric. This and our Beetle & Lighthouse pattern are the two most popular designs for wallpaper. See these two most recent installations at Ecca Lodge in a private game reserve and at a luxury guest house in Cape Town.   Our wallpaper is custom printed in panels and not rolls. Sold by the square metre and printed...

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Cape Gables

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Cape Gables

Symmetry in architecture, what could be better? How about repeated symmetrical Cape Dutch gables on your walls? The traditional Delft blue works really well with this design. And the ideal space – great for formal spaces that aren’t too stuffy. That is to say, for spaces where people relax in a sophisticated atmosphere. Our wallpaper is custom printed in panels and not rolls. Sold by the square metre and printed to client wall dimensions. The panels will match the height of your walls, so waste is minimised. The price varies...

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Pylons

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Pylons

Lattice pattern of power. This wallpaper pattern compliments our other pylons pattern with animals. It uses the pylons and power line elements alone to create a harmonic lattice pattern. The effect is calming but thought provoking. Please contact us for more colour options and advice on the use of this design. Our wallpaper is custom printed in panels and not rolls. Sold by the square metre and printed to client wall dimensions. The panels will match the height of your walls, so waste is minimised. The price varies according to how much you...

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Beetle & Lighthouse Wallpaper

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Beetle & Lighthouse Wallpaper

Cape Town full flavor. Bring your décor to life with this vibrant wallpaper. The Beetle and Lighthouse pattern is about some of what makes up Cape Town. Elements include the Greenpoint lighthouse, a Hadeda, a VW Beetle (often used as rental cars around the city), a Strelitzia and a Protea. Different colour options include bright yellows and a toned down combination of blue and gold. Click here to see the amazing installation of this wallpaper at the Fire & Ice Hotel in Cape Town. Our wallpaper is custom printed in panels and not...

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Delicacies and vitals

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Delicacies and vitals

A fine balance of delicacies and vitals. This wallpaper pattern is great for any surface. It’s quirky portrayal of traditional food is a unique design. A pattern with roast chicken, grilled fish, heads of wheat, pastries and some other delights to sustain any décor enthusiast. Other elements include spoons, oranges, grapes, stars, eggs, tomatoes and bananas. Oh, and a tiny lettuce. They seem to fit together quite harmoniously. Our wallpaper is custom printed in panels and not rolls. Sold by the square metre and printed to client wall...

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Cosmos floral mural wallpaper

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Cosmos floral mural wallpaper

Country fresh. This design is one of our few photographic type designs. It is designed to repeat horizontally along the bottom of the walls of a room. These are pink and white cosmos...

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Wood pattern – wallpaper mural

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Wood pattern – wallpaper mural

Textured wood pattern. This design with a perfect repeat can be adjusted for any wall size. It is one of the few photographic mural type designs that we...

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Jewelry pattern number 2

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Jewelry pattern number 2

Understated opulence. This is one of our patterns with jewelry as a theme. See the link below for another jewelry pattern. This one is playful but...

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