Nothing says more about the nation’s changing interiors tastes than who British decorating brand Graham & Brown chooses to collaborate with. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen was the first big name it joined forces with in 1999, when the public was gripped by his hit makeover show Changing Rooms.
That collection’s success has led to countless other link-ups with the likes of Kelly Hoppen, Barbara Hulanicki, Marcel Wanders and even musician Brian Eno.
This year sees the company celebrate its 75th anniversary in characteristically vibrant fashion. A new limited-edition collection re-imagines eight archive designs, one for each decade since its launch in 1946, with all proceeds from sales going to a number of charities.
Then there’s its latest designer partnership, this time with Sacha Walckhoff, the current creative director of French fashion house Christian Lacroix, who is known for a brave and fantastical approach to pattern, reminiscent of the films of Tim Burton or Wes Anderson.
‘The brief for the collection was loose,’ explains Alan Kemp, head of brand marketing at Graham & Brown. ‘Sacha worked very broadly at the beginning with lots of amazing ideas. As the designs developed, a beautifully striking and unique set of wallpapers came to life.’
The result, ‘Paper Games’, comprises four designs and is a love letter to the material itself. As Walckhoff explains, ‘Beyond the notions of paper-cutting and shadow theatre that I celebrate in this collection, the name “Paper Games” expresses the incredible capacity that paper possesses to play a multitude of roles in everyone’s lives.’
Walckhoff’s love of paper started as a child. ‘At a very young age, I discovered the paper art practiced by the inhabitants of the Pays D’Enhaut mountains in France. Back in the 19th century, these rural artists created large frescoes representing daily life on the mountain pastures.’
Similar graphic motifs from the natural world feature throughout the designs of the new collection. ‘Hide and Seek’ features floral silhouettes layered over a coloured stripe, while ‘Party Land Magic’ sees trees floating on differently coloured dots and ‘Magical Forest’ looks like an entire paper-cut woodland scene. ‘Secret Mountain’ has angular triangles arranged loosely to form the impression of a mountainous landscape. ‘Paper Games’ collection, £65 per 10m roll, grahambrown.com; walckhoff.com
Design timeline: Graham & Brown
In honour of the brand’s 75th anniversary, we look at some more key moments…
Childhood friends Harold Graham and Henry Brown set up the brand.
Graham & Brown exhibits at events such as the ‘British Industries Fair’ in Birmingham (below).
The brand purchases former cotton mill, ‘Plantation Mill’ (below), to deal with increased demand.
It begins exporting to Europe and increases the site to make room for the brand-new vinyl wallpapering line.
The ‘Superfresco’ wallpaper is expanded with a ‘Paintable’ and ‘Colors’ range, and Graham & Brown’s first TV advert is launched (below).
Releases include the ‘Wall Art’ collection, helping Graham & Brown to win the ‘Cool Brand’ award in 2009.
Graham & Brown celebrates its 75th anniversary with the launch of ‘Through The Decades’, a limited-edition collection of wallpapers – one for each decade in existence.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
Keep your spirits up and subscribe to ELLE Decoration here, so our magazine is delivered direct to your door.