Ecological wallpapers are finally here, providing interior design solutions that can be both beautiful and sustainable. We learn more about them from one of the first players to enter the market.
Tell me about your company’s conception story; how did it all begin?
Our company “Wallpaper from the 70s” was founded by chance in 2003 when our founder, Sven Rohleder, was searching for a suitable wall covering for his living room. Longing for the old vintage patterns that decorated the walls of his childhood, he started looking if he could source some old 70s wallpaper rolls still stocked somewhere. After some dead ends, he finally struck gold when he found some, stashed away and forgotten in an old wallpaper warehouse. He gleefully took them home and, once completed his redecoration project, he decided to auction away the leftover rolls on eBay. To his surprise, an avalanche of bids arrived within minutes and the entire stock was sold out within hours. Bidders left out of the auction kept asking if he had more in stock.
This made Sven realize that there must be many more people whose taste does not conform to mainstream standards. He starts to buy leftover stocks from other local warehouses, but wallpaper left for decades in a cellar is often damaged and no longer usable. Realizing there were many fellow retro wallpaper lovers out there a business idea was born: what if we produced a new generation of wallpapers, combining authentic vintage pattern designs of the 70s with modern materials and the most stringent German quality and health standards?
A young designer is commissioned to recreate the classic patterns from the 70s and in 2003 the first models were launched. They are an immediate hit, thrilling both visitors and experts at a New York trade fair and trailblazing the revival of Seventies patterns, long before major wallpaper manufacturers became even aware of the trend.
How would you describe your company’s aesthetic philosophy?
As reflected in our name, we are born out of our fascination with the golden age of wallpaper, a time when the industry moved away from established designs and started exploring new patterns and bold colors. Our enthusiasm is however not based on retro design alone. It incorporates our appreciation for the era’s optimistic pioneering spirit and its belief in the future. To us, this means always having the finger on the pulse of new trends and capturing the zeitgeist of the present. For this reason, we have expanded over the years our portfolio, including a carefully curated selection of the best wallpapers available. We handpick a selected number of European manufacturers we work with, ranging from small family businesses to up-and-coming designers and established fashion houses. Every single wallpaper in our online store has been chosen with care and purpose. In a market flooded with tens of thousands of models, we pride ourselves on presenting a bespoke and tasteful selection of the current trends, a service that our discerning customers appreciate.
After years of research, you recently launched the world’s first completely compostable wallpaper. How does this work?
Being a small German company, the ecological aspect of our work is always very present in our minds. We are convinced that great interior design solutions can also be safe, ecologically conscious, and sustainable. This brought us to develop and market Veruso Lino, an innovative and fully biodegradable wallpaper, one of the firsts to hit the market. It is entirely composed of plant-based raw materials (65% linen from Normandy, 35% natural viscose from FSC-certified, sustainable forestry in Austria), carefully chosen because they require only a very limited amount of water to grow. It is produced with an innovative method that does not require conventional binding agents. The result is a high-quality and extremely robust wallpaper, with no artificial dyes.
How does this differ from traditional wallpapers on the market?
Most wallpapers are composed of non-woven materials mixed together with synthetic fibers to enhance their adhesive properties. This makes them convenient and easy to install but it makes recycling impossible. Old non-woven wallpaper usually ends up in landfill or waste incineration facilities, generating environmentally harmful CO2. The same goes for paper-based wallpaper, which is also non-recyclable due to the industrial dyes used in the production process. The approach we took when developing Veruso Lino is completely different. We concentrated on creating a wallpaper that could fit within the biological cycle, where all its raw materials can be reused again and again. The production process is designed to retain the quality of raw materials over various life cycles – a significant departure from conventional recycling methods. When our Veruso Lino wallpaper is broken down through composting, it releases valuable nutrients. The wallpaper waste turns into raw material for another product.
What led you to want to create this compostable wallpaper? Was it a need you felt was of importance to your consumer base?
As mentioned before, we are based in a community where environmental aspects are deeply felt and we always felt we could do more for the ecological cause also in our area of expertise. We wanted to demonstrate that sustainability is both cool and that it certainly doesn’t mean sacrificing style or convenience – quite the opposite. Sustainability is simply the only possible way we can envisage for future wall décor.
How can individuals make maximum use of their wallpaper in order to curb waste?
An environmental wallpaper like Veruso Lino is already designed to help reduce waste and save energy due to its material properties:
- It is heat-insulating, as air is trapped within the flax and viscose fibres, creating a heat-insulating effect. The thermal energy of the heated room is absorbed by the wallpaper instead of being fully released to the wall itself.
- It regulates the humidity of the room as its natural fibers absorbs room humidity and releases the moisture when the ambient air becomes dryer.
- It is very durable, as it is produced with an emphasis on saving resources and ensuring a long life span. In addition, the design is timeless, making frequent redesign efforts unnecessary.
These characteristics make sure that wallpaper if kept with care, can provide insulation and comfort for many years to come.
How can an individual be more conscious and sustainable when designing their living spaces?
Obviously the choice of an environmentally sustainable wallpaper is only the starting point and there are other steps that need to be taken when designing an ecologically conscious living space. We recommend the following:
- Make sure that the energy that powers and heats your home comes from renewable sources.
- Check your windows and their level of energy insulation
- Choose low consumption lighting sources
- Reuse the furniture you have at home creatively to change the look instead of buying new ones.
This post was brought to you by Wallpaper from the 70s. Special thanks to the brands that make ADIMAY possible!