When you hear the words ‘hand-painted wallpaper’, what do you think of ? Most likely, it’s a traditional botanical or Chinoiserie design, the kind seen in stately homes. But Milanese studio Fabscarte is putting its own, highly contemporary spin on the medium.
The brand was founded by artists Emilio Brazzolotto and Luigi Scarabelli (pictured above) in the late 1980s, with the aim of reinventing traditional decoration for a new age. With a team of artisans, they employ a combination of techniques to create their designs, all of which are made entirely by hand. They might use a method that dates back to medieval times, or opt for something completely self-invented and left-field – soil, coffee and tissue paper have all lent unique touches to Fabscarte wallpapers.
Working out of a former car workshop inVia Foppa, at the heart of Milan’s bohemian Porta Genova district, they’ve assembled a diverse collection of painterly botanicals, earthy textures and abstract patterns. Inspiration sometimes comes from the art world, as with ‘Musicale’, which recalls the lively dots and lines of Paul Klee’s paintings.For ‘Ginko Bianco’, paper is layered to create feathery fronds that resemble the leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree. There are even stone and terracotta effects, created with pigments and lime stucco. With every design, colour and scale can be adapted for a bespoke finish.
Fabscarte has collaborated with a range of international talent, including creative agency Studio Blanco and New York-based artist Martyn Thompson, whose ‘Midnight Moondust’ and ‘Rose Scented Mirage’ designs exemplify the studio’s romantic spirit. The first, inspired by the moon’s surface, uses coffee and metallic powders to form a rich patina, while the second is more ethereal, with whispers of pastel colour. As with every Fabscarte creation, just one glimpse is enough to reveal the many weeks of work that go into its making: this is wallpaper at its most poetic. fabscarte.it
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration October 2019
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