Having spent years recording the work of fashion retail visual merchandisers (the UK has the BEST VM creatives, no question) I have often thought there was potential to take some of the creative skills over to the home. I don’t mean building the set of Selfridges window in your front lounge, but the method of transforming from one ‘look’ to another-which VMers do every couple of weeks- has definite appeal for interior design.
So when I heard that the Harlequin Display group -suppliers of window props and graphics to retailers such as Ralph Lauren, Puma and Hackett had launched a new custom wall covering division, JW Walls, that utalized its knowledge of printing giant size images to the highest standard for us ordinary folk with wallpaper needs, it seemed a natural move. Simply put, it’ll use any image from your own photo collection and turn it into a ‘printed-to-fit’ wall covering for any wall in your house. Cleverly the company has also tied up with Tate Images to access some of its loveliest paintings to use, as well as with Jelly, a collective of some of the best contemporary illustrators, including Jo Bird, Caroline Tomlinson and David M Busian.
Because the company is used to working with nit-picky retailers who want perfection on a budget, details such as how the wall coverings are sent out (in specially designed, well protected boxes) and the printing quality (Harlequin has won ‘best printer of the year’ a number of times) have all been nailed. Also the wall coverings are really easy to install, you just peel off the backing at stick ’em up and if you make a mistake you can pull it off and start again. VMers have worked through all the conceivable problems already, so the process is pretty idiot proof. It’s a quick service- it takes about five days and it’s reasonably priced, starting at £110.