History in the Making

The past continually informs the present in interiors, whether that means a historic building updated with a contemporary spin, or young makers reinventing age-old craft techniques with a new eye. Three fabric and wallpaper houses at Focus/21 have launched collections that look back in time for their source material, with results that feel fresh for the modern world, yet rooted in the past.

Dedar presented a world exclusive at Focus/21, new brand Papier Français. “It is the meeting of two worlds: first, the old treasures we have found, sleeping in the archives, which we want to give new life to; and second, using those old patterns to propose a unique service – full customisation as standard,” explained the company’s director Laurent Chapuis in the showroom. Papier Français didn’t consult any ordinary archives, but the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, which holds thousands of papers from the golden age of French wallcoverings in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The designs have been digitally restored to bring them back to life, with 81 making the final cut. Each one is available in the original colourway, but Papier Français can customise them to any colour, made to order. The original designs are almost shocking in their boldness, re-evaluating what we think we know about what historic interiors looked like: ‘Roma Imperia’ (above left) is a grid of classical vases and lyres, in pink, blue, orange and olive green, originally made by Monchablon; while ‘Champ d’Emeraude’ by Jacquemart et Bénard is a trompe l’oeil design of stylised emeralds.

Lelièvre Paris has launched a new collection with French brand Maison Leleu, which originally rose to prominence in the 1920s and was at the forefront of the art deco movement. Revived by the fourth-generation Alexia Leleu, it is now blazing a trail once more, starting with rugs, lighting and furniture and now, with Lelièvre’s help, fabrics and wallpapers. The Rétrospective collection aims to showcase the best of Maison Leleu over the decades, including the Japanese-inspired ‘Sayuri’ fabric and its companion ‘Ayamé’ wallcovering (above left) and ‘Malvina’ wallcovering and ‘Les Indes’ fabric (above right), an Indian-style print that takes its cues from a classic rug design.

Mulberry Home is celebrating its 30th birthday and has looked to its own archives for reinvention. The Icons wallcovering collection includes a new larger-scale version of the beloved ‘Flying Ducks’ – based on a 1920s design by Alfred Stone – now renamed ‘Grand Flying Ducks’ (above). Several favourite fabrics have also been translated into wallpapers, including ‘Buckland’ and ‘Morning Gallop’.

Dedar, Ground Floor, Design Centre East
Lelièvre Paris, First Floor, North & Centre Domes
Mulberry Home, Ground Floor, Design Centre East