Friday, 31 August 2012

From the silver screen to a wall near you

Evil Robot Design came to my attention back in May, whilst meandering through old Victorian prison cells in the House of Detention for The Clarkenwell Design Week 2012. ERD (the design duo Dan Robotic and Evil Ed) are best known for their fantastic lamps made from pre-loved sci-fi and comic figurines. What really caught my eye in the Design Week display, was their new range of wallpapers:

Wallpapers 'The three laws of robotics', 'It came from Outer Space' and  'It came from Beneath the Sea', Evil Robot Design, 2011.

Pop culture, comic books, film and TV (particularly of a sci-fi/fantasy bent) are obvious influences on these papers. Dan Robotic asserts that moving image provides source material for their designs: 
"How can you not be inspired by the super fast iconic imagery of the movies and television, they play such a huge part in our lives. It's always an honour to capture those moments for people to keep and remember forever."

ERD's wallpapers are not simple reproductions of popular film or TV characters but rather they are fun and stylistic interpretations of their favourite entertainment genres. It is worth noting there is a successful market for wall coverings of film and tv characters, and there has been for some time. MoDA holds an early example of a Mickey Mouse wallpaper by Sanderson and Sons Ltd. which was released in 1930, only two years after Walt Disney Studios first introduced Mickey in Steam Boat Willie.

Mickey Mouse wallpaper and border, Arthur Sanderson & Sons Ltd., 1930 (SW3, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture)

Today the imagery of TV and film is a big part of our visual landscape. The ideas behind ERD wallpapers remind me of the way pattern design in the 1960s-1970s was influenced by subjects that were also the things you could see on a typical night in, in-front of the box: teen culture, popular music and space exploration. As the US-USSR space-race played out on news channels throughout the decade, many wallpapers and furnishing fabrics were released with astronaut and space-age imagery. A personal favourite is John Wilkinson's 'Apollo' from the 1971 Palladio collection.

'Apollo' wallpaper by John Wilkinson, Palladio 9 series, Arthur Sandersons & Sons Ltd, 1971 (E196.1977, Victoria & Albert Museum)

Evil Robot Designs have produced what I think is a very smart wallpaper range illustrating that great design ideas can come from many every-day sorts of things like a tv series, a comic strip in your local newspaper or that film you are going to see this weekend. What would your favourite film look like as pattern design?

1 comment:

  1. It's great to see the links between those contemporary designs and the incredible, historic 'Apollo' wallpaper from the 1971 Palladio collection.

    It's hard to think of a wallpaper based on a film, but I love the idea of something full of the futuristic art-deco lines in something like Fritz Lang's Metropolis; something which gave the effect of living in a futuristic city full of monolithic architecture.