Behind-the-Design: Our New Wool Wallcovering

Maya Romanoff

Maya Romanoff Extraordinary Surfacing Materials

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Behind-the-Design: Our New Wool Wallcovering

February 28 2017


When we first began collaborating with The Rockwell Group on the Virgin Hotel Chicago, there was a challenge to overcome: they wanted to use our Blanket wallcovering, an intricately embroidered, felted wool fabric (a choice that wasn’t surprising, given that the head of The Rockwell Group, David Rockwell actually helped design the collection). However, the bespoke nature of the product meant that the price and lead times were too high to cover the walls of an entire hotel. Over the course of a few months, we were challenged to value engineer. We played with dozens of processes, ideas, and materials to try and come up with a beautiful solution at a hospitality budget. After much trial and error, we developed a brand new process that uses metallic foil and ink, but is evocative of stitching. We loved this new creation so much we decided to create an entire collection around it. Because of the softness of the heathered wool ground, the name Cozy was a natural.

To help with the designs of this derivative collection, we again worked alongside The Rockwell Group. Barry Richards was the lead product designer on the project, and below, we’re talking with him about how he came up with the 34 wool wallcoverings that now make up the Cozy collection.

What did you envision for this collection?

Cozy is inspired by the warmth and soothing quality of wool. We thought of the wallcovering as a blanket wrapping a room in a comforting embrace.

How did you settle on the prints and color pairings for the Cozy Collection?

It was a very collaborative effort, but Rockwell Group held in-house case studies with our interior designers to help develop the prints and color pairings. Everyone really liked the unexpected bright colors. The bold orange and chartreuse stitching adds a subtle yet unexpected playfulness. We were particularly drawn to the curves of Embrace and the geometry of Day Dreamer.

How long did the collection take to develop?

Almost two years. As in any product design, we went through several iterations with Maya Romanoff and Rockwell Group approved the final design.

How do you envision these wallcoverings being used?

From the start of the collection, we wanted to create a wallcovering that is open ended for designers. It can be used in a variety of different spaces, from hotels and restaurants to homes and event spaces. The possibilities are endless. The 45,000 double rubs makes it suitable for upholstery and pillows as well.

Do you have a print or color that is a personal favorite?

The gold and silver stitching, which is actually metallic foil, adds an element of surprise. It enhances the highly-tactile appeal of the covering. The material’s color and look shifts when viewed at different angles.

To see the entire Cozy collection and order product samples, click here