Wallpaper Tales

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“Le dessin Ă desseinâ€? is the name under which this project was made. Translated from french this means; prints or drawings with a meaning.

Un petit atelier is the blog or visual notebook where you can find things I make, moments worth sharing and inspiring people. This book attempts to show the visual and theoretical research made. Dedicated to Maman without whom this project would have never gotten past its first steps. Thank you for all of your help, support and for believing in me. You mean the world to me.

LE DESSIN A DESSEIN -Magali Abraham-

“Le dessin à dessein” CONTENT

06-09 10-11 12-23 24-25 26-45 46-47 48-65 66-67 68-89 90-91 92-99 100-109 110-111 112-113 114-115

Introduction Interview Charlotte De With (Wallpaper designer) Bar Choq Interview Jens Oris (owner Bar Choq) La Chascona Interview Dieter Homburg Jan Jan Van Essche Interview Jan Jan Van Essche (fashion designer) De Smaaknatie Interview Dirk Baeken (owner De Smaaknatie) AIR Artists In Residence Extrapool Interview Jan Dirk (co-owner Extrapool) To be continued Special thank you

5 Content

“Le dessin Ă desseinâ€? This year the main focus will be put on prints used for the interior. Wallpaper is the perfect medium to combine graphic design and interior design. The goal is to add something to the identity of a space. Working with space, audience and prints combined has been a great challenge.

Public spaces For these new wallpaper designs I have decided to use public spaces. This way the viewer becomes part of the story and the design. When looking for places to design wallpaper, it is important that they fulfill certain criteria. For instance, the viewer should have a moment to look at the wallpaper and appreciate its decorative function or reflect about the story behind it. It should be places where the owner plays a big role in the atmosphere and style of the room.

Storytelling These patterns should not only be graphically or aesthetically pleasing but also tell a story. Storytelling gives the mere decorative medium more layers. Collaborating with the owner and public of the space will allow me to push the boundaries of my own style and hopefully create something new.

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Memory We are wrong to think memories are visual. When thinking back about your grandparent’s place you probably won’t remember exactly how many picture frames were hanging on the wall or what color the floor tiles were in the kitchen. However you will remember very vividly the smell in the hallway when you entered their home and the sound the chairs made when you sat down. Details and stories make memories intense. Visual memories are often blurry and illustrate an atmosphere more than an actual interior. If my wallpaper could one day be part of this blurry image or small detail I would be very proud, since this is what I intend to create. This is what I thrive for when designing. Not to make a fast quick hard impact but to have a story that will last a bit longer.

Wallpaper tales By working this way I hope to step away from the Ikea pillow you bought last week to match the rug. Although there is absolutely no harm done by doing so, I hope to create something of a deeper value. The pillow you have supposedly just bought after thinking about it for two minutes will be put back into a closet after a few months to make place for a newer and ‘better’ pillow. Absolutely no emotional or financial value is given to this object. Since we are not allowed to ask for a monetary remuneration for our hard work this year, I will have to put the focus on the emotional value. Hoping to create a memory, something of great sentimental value.

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Space When working as a graphic designer or while studying it, we rarely get the chance to step away from the computer and work within a space. With wallpaper I got to do both. Although the wallpaper is printed in 2D it has to function in a 3D space. It is impossible to ignore the furniture standing in the space, the people walking through it and the owner working in it. By putting these restrictions onto myself I hope to evolve and step outside of my designer comfort zone.

Prints My fascination for prints and the effect something has when repeated has been there for quite some time. As a child the vividly colored Oilily dresses were always the ones most worn. After having a wonderful internship in The Hague at Tas-ka I was convinced that this is what I wanted to focus on for my master’s project. Although there are many similarities between textile-design and graphic-design, there are also many differences. Repetition makes the work change tremendously. Everything needs to be tested on scale and put against a wall. There is no better way to find out if the print works or not. It is always a nerv wrecking and exciting time when making a testprint to hang on the wall. It is always a surprise and never disappointing, I learned from the many mistakes as well as the successes. Before finding any right compositions, many wrong ones needed to be made. In an attempt to reveal the process that goes on beforehand some wrong designs need to be shown as well. How not to do it is, in retrospect, often as interesting as how to do it.

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Colors So many color-theories exist it could almost drive you mad. Red is a warm, passionate color and orange stimulates you to eat, while pastel green should sooth you, blue could be irritating. For more contrast use complementary colors and for color harmony you can look up the internet and test the many formula’s that are available. How much does color influence an atmosphere? Furthermore, do we need to apply these theories or just trust our instincts?

Mass-production For my research I went to visit one of the four designers at Eijffinger. Focusing on mass-production wallpaper collections, these designs need to be made fast. How do they cope with color and all its theories; they don’t. Trusting their intuition is the deciding factor when picking color combinations. No elaborate stories are told through these designs but they do work with themes to create collections.

Grey In Ghent I met up with Marie Mees and Cathérine Biasino; two great designers with a very unique style. Focused on the graphic aspect of prints, their wallpaper and textile designs are usually made in grey tones, because they like it this way.

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Charlotte De With Wallpaper designer Eijffinger

10 Interview

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CHOQ Minderbroedersrui 64 2000 Antwerpen

The very first place I will design a wallpaper for in Antwerp. Except for the nice coffee and oh so tasty hot chocolate with brownies, this small cozy cafe offers a wonderful atmosphere. You can pop by for a cup of tasty goodness and have a look at the many books and magazines lying around or just to have a chat with Jens, the owner. A wonderful break during a stressful day.

L: Bar Choq, sketch R: Bar Choq, “Smile series�, research

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L: Bar Choq, “Smile series�, research R: Bar Choq

When browsing through the internet I found an interesting theory ; when surrounded by smiles you yourself will be smiling more and that will subsequently make you happier. Jens Oris, the owner of the Bar Choq started this little coffee bar not out of a passion for coffee but a passion for entrepreneurship. To make his clients happier he would thrive to make the coffee better. I could make no contribution to the coffee, however I could try and make his clients happier by surrounding them with smiles. That is how the first design and proposition came to life. Without any hesitations Jens had dismissed the first trial because it lacked of Rock and Roll attitude. How was I supposed to add more of this into my design? 15 Bar Choq

L: Bar Choq R: Bar Choq, “Smile series”, research

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L: Bar Choq, “Daar is Wally series”, Nodebox research R: Bar Choq, sketch, research overleaf L&R: Bar Choq, “Daar is Wally”, selected

Daar is Wally Everyone knows the detailed drawings where Wally wearing a striped hat is hiding somewhere amongst the crowd and you are expected to find him. With these drawings in mind we created the ‘Daar is Wally’-wallpaper. I spent my days drinking coffee and sketching people coming in and out of the little coffee place for a quick fix of delicious liquid goodness. After vectoring all the drawings and placing them into a nice composition, we tested the scale and it was done! Once it was glued onto the wall everyone tried to find themselves or friends amongst the crowded wallpaper. My lack of drawing skills seemed to be a good thing; many clients recognized themselves although they weren’t really on it. To break the repetitive pattern a little bit, I applied some black ink here and there filling up hair and hats.

A nice little thing to know is that a guy named Wally is also on the wallpaper. Instead of calling it ‘Where is Wally?’ the wallpaper is called ‘There is Wally’ because he is such a regular client there.

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Nodebox Welcome to NodeBox NodeBox is a Mac OS X application that allows you to create 2D visuals (static, animated or interactive) using Python programming code and export them as a PDF or a QuickTime movie. NodeBox is free and well-documented. (source: Nodebox-website)

Not very eager to learn this program I still had to find out if this tool would be a gift or a curse for this project. Working mainly in code was definitely not the way I wanted to spend my days. After a talk with the programmers in charge of Nodebox I quickly realized how easily it could be applied for the wallpaper designs I was working on, and decided to give it a try. This is the perfect tool to let go of any control and let the machines do the work. One of the great characteristics of Nodebox is its ability to generate a flaw making a repetitive pattern more dynamic. Since I had decided to use repetition as the main restriction on this project I could not apply this for the wallpaper. What I could do is use the Delaunay-formula found on the website where I could easily use my drawings as input and let the program randomly place and transform the elements inside a certain frame. Playing with composition was made a lot easier. This technique would not be one I could use on every design but was certainly worth a try. When working in Illustrator I would manually place every portrait to create a composition. Because it is very difficult to escape from our esthetic eye the compositions could be made using Nodebox. R: Bar Choq, “Daar is Wally series�, Nodebox research

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Jens Oris Owner Bar Choq

24 Interview

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CHASCONA Oever 18 2000 Antwerpen

L: La Chascona R: La Chascona, “Flower series”, Nodebox research overleaf L: La Chascona, “Flower series”, research overleaf R: La Chascona, “Flower series”, research

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This nice little coffee place has the best cake, especially on Thursdays. Next to coffee drinking and hot chocolate sipping you can also buy the chair you are sitting on or the lamp shining on your table. With a lot of old furniture, the atmosphere is like a cool grandmother’s living room.

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L: La Chascona, “Flower series�, research R: La Chascona

La Chascona comes from a poem by Pablo Neruda. Although Pablo was married, he had a mistress he liked to call La Chascona; Because of her tangled hair. One day walking on the San Cristobal hill, they found a house for sale. Pablo and Matilde fell in love with it and made it their home. Many poems are inspired by this place and you can still go and visit it today.

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L: (top) La Chascona (bottom) La Chascona, “Flower series”, research R: La Chascona, “Flower and birds series”, Nodebox research overleaf L: La Chascona, “Flower series”, research overleaf R: La Chascona, “Flower series”, Nodebox research

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L: La Chascona, “Flower series” R: La Chascona, “Flower and birds series”, Nodebox research

Flowers Flowers have many meanings. Therefore I needed to be careful when picking and choosing the ones I would be using for this wallpaper design. Eventually I decided to stick to the romantic roses. Connecting the romantic story to the nostalgic cafe.

36 La Chascona

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L: La Chascona, “Flowers and birds series”, Nodebox research R: La Chascona

The Aphrodite (resembling La Chascona) myth goes as follows: When she arose from the sea the flakes of foam touching the sand were transformed into white roses. Emperor Heliogabalus was known for his lavish parties. A good example to illustrate this is a story that is told about one of his feasts. He closed the doors when all of his guests had arrived to his party and had a huge amount of rose petals fall over the people. A few guests suffocated under the load of petals. The expression ‘Sub Rosa’ (under the rose- confidential- in secrecy) comes from the Romans. In a room where roses were painted on the ceiling, everything that was said there was meant to be a secret. The rose has always been a symbol of love in paintings. Thorns are emphasizing the bad while the good is implemented in the gorgeous petals.

Inspired by the many stories around roses and their symbolism, I started designing. After scanning, drawing, painting and photographing flowers I finally found a technique I could stick to. It is important to change techniques as much as possible for this challenge because that is one of the reasons I chose to work with different clients and not focus on one collection. Diversity would push my designs to the next level.

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L: La Chascona, “Flowers and birds series”, Nodebox research R: (top) La Chascona, “Flower series”, Nodebox research (bottom) La Chascona

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We love birds Why not put birds on the wallpaper? “We love birds!” Said Dieter the co-owner of La Chascona. He immediately pulled out a Belgian children’s book illustrated with birds. By combining a few birds and playing with proportions we found a composition we liked.

L: La Chascona, “Flowers and birds series”, research R: La Chascona, birds overleaf L&R: La Chascona, “We love birds”, selected

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Dieter Homburg co-owner La Chascona

46 Interview

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JAN VAN ESSCHE Dambruggestraat 48 2060 Antwerpen

Once a year a clothing collection is designed by Jan Jan Van Essche. He is the co-owner of the Atelier Solarshop. I will design a wallpaper for his pop-up exhibition at the Atelier Solarshop and showroom showcasing his new collection in Paris.

Jan Jan Van Essche, Collection #2 “Satta Amassagana� photographer: Pietro Celestina

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Jan Jan Van Essche, “Landscape series”, Repper research

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Jan Jan Van Essche, “Kaleidoscope series”, Repper research

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Jan Jan Van Essche, Atelier Solarshop

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Jan Jan Van Essche, “Kaleidoscope series”, Repper research

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(top) Jan Jan Van Essche, Atelier Solarshop (bottom) Jan Jan Van Essche, “Kaleidoscope series�, Repper research

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Jan Jan Van Essche, “Rosettes”, research

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(top) Jan Jan Van Essche, “Kaleidoscope series”, Repper research (bottom) Jan Jan Van Essche, Collection #2 “Satta Amassagana”, research photographer: Pietro Celestina

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Jan Jan Van Essche, “Landscape series”, Repper research

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(top) Jan Jan Van Essche, “Landscape series”, Repper research (bottom) Jan Jan Van Essche, Collection #2 “Satta Amassagana” photographer: Pietro Celestina

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L: (left) Jan Jan Van Essche, research (right) Jan Jan Van Essche, Collection #2 “Satta Amassagana” photographer: Pietro Celestina R: Jan Jan Van Essche, “Kaleidoscope series”, Repper research

The collection is very graphic using geometric shapes. Although the fabrics are different shades of black, the inspiration is much brighter. An atelier filled with loud African textiles, beautiful photographs from Malik Sidibe and many books on ethnic fashion as inspiration. The wallpaper could be something in-between the finished collection and the vivid inspiration sources.

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What better way to express this collection than by using photographs of the photo-shoot in an unusual way. This way a different side of his work could be shown. A landscape functioning as an epilogue.

L: Jan Jan Van Essche, “Kaleidoscope series�, Repper research R: Jan Jan Van Essche, atelier

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L: Jan Jan Van Essche, “Kaleidoscope series”, Repper research

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R: (top) Jan Jan Van Essche, “Rosettes”, research (bottom) Jan Jan Van Essche, atelier overleaf L&R: Jan Jan Van Essche, “Epilogue”, selected

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Jan Jan Van Essche co-owner Atelier Solarshop

66 Interview

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Sint Jorispoort 33 2000 Antwerpen

L: De Smaaknatie R: De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series�, Repper research

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Impossible to walk by this place without mouthwatering in front of his window shop. Dirk combines the best wines with cheeses from France, Spain and Belgium. Always calm but always busy cooking something special, Dirk created a place where your taste-buds will be pampered. Not very eager to have bright wallpaper on his walls I tried to convince Dirk this would add so much to the space. After a long discussion, tiles seemed like a better option.

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L: De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series”, Repper research R: De Smaaknatie, “B”, Dirk Baeken’s autograph

Story What needed to be said through these tiles? The place is very modern using darker colors for the floor and lighter colors on the walls. The use of Zink gives a clean and professional look. Blacks, greys and whites are used in every possible tone. The restaurant is filled with old objects where each tell a wonderful story. The design should reflect the new and the old at the same time. Dirk cooks all of the food himself, using recipes he then alters to his own taste. The tiles should say tasty food without using images of food. It should also mention Dirk’s stamp and Belgian touch in the dishes without using the colors of the flag. While waiting for their package of delicious goods, people often wander into the open kitchen much to the dislike of Dirk. Maybe using optical

illusions will distract them while waiting for their take-away package. Should the emphasis be put onto the atmosphere using a more abstract drawing than a figurative one?

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L: De Smaaknatie R: De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series�, Repper research

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L: De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series”, Repper research R: (left) De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series”, Repper research (right) Le creuset

After many trial and errors we finally agreed. I wanted to make a print in collaboration with the owner in some way. By using Dirk Baeken’s autograph we would be making the design together. A piece of him made into a design by me. I like the way an autograph can also be referred to as a person’s artistic signature like the one Dirk puts in his food. I love the B (from Baeken) that could also refer to Belgium and the Belgian touch brought to the food. I would have liked to use the color red; a vibrant dynamic color that contrasts the use of greyish tones in the interior. Although the tiles will be squares and placed next to each other, the design makes it look like they are tilted to the left like an optical illusion. Used in a smaller size it has a more traditional effect but by using just one color it adds something modern to it.

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L: De Smaaknatie R: De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series�, Repper research

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L: De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series”, Repper research R: (top) De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series”, Repper research (bottom) De Smaaknatie

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L: De Smaaknatie, “Color series”, research R: De Smaaknatie, “Geometric series”, research

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L: De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series”, Repper research R: (top) De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series”, Repper research (bottom) De Smaaknatie

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L: (top) De Smaaknatie (bottom) De Smaaknatie, “Witlof series”, research R: De Smaaknatie, “Witlof series”, research

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L: De Smaaknatie, “Autograph series”, Repper research R: De Smaaknatie overleaf L&R: De Smaaknatie, “Baraph”, selected

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Dirk Baeken owner De Smaaknatie

90 Interview

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Oosterweelsteenweg 3 2030 Antwerpen

(top) AIR, plants (bottom) AIR, atelier

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AIR, “Ink paper floor tiles� and Castro the dog

Every few months new artists are invited at AIR to create something new in this great environment. The beautiful old building is situated far from the city centre close to the water, and is not so easy to reach with public transportation. However, once you are there you do not want to leave!

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AIR, sketches, research

We were offered a small space to work in for a week. Five days to create and finalize a project. Together with Celine Mathieu, Pieter-Jan Maesen and Robin De Hous I started this Masterclass. Meeting fascinating people like Johan Desmet, Rinus Van De Velde, Peter Morrens and Peter Rogiers was a great inspiration and contributed a great deal to the atmosphere at AIR. I was eager to use wallpaper in an unexpected way. Since I am usually restricted to working with clients and public spaces it was wonderful to get carte blanche in this small space. Any wall could be used and any print could be designed. The old tiling caught my attention. The grid of squares combining red and crème was something I wanted to use. This is how I came up with the idea to

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make wallpaper for the floor. Using the already existing grid I would make handmade paper tiles. The triangle and square are the most common used forms when making a repeated pattern. I used combinations of triangles randomly placed to get an unexpected effect. For the next four days I drew on hundreds of sheets of paper using just water and ink. After selecting the best ones, the paper tiles could be glued onto the floor. I chose the entrance of our space because by doing so, the tiles could evolve into something new in a small amount of time. People would be obligated to pass through this space to get into the main room. The tiles had a very short lifespan but I was very pleased with the result.

(top) AIR, sketches (bottom) AIR, sketches

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L: AIR, “Ink paper floor tiles”, selected R: AIR, “Ink paper floor tiles”, selected overleaf L&R: AIR, “Ink paper floor tiles”, selected

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Tweede Walstraat 5-23 6511 LN Nijmegen Nederland

L: (top) Extrapool, Dirk (bottom) Extrapool, Dirk R: Extrapool, “Electricity Pole series”, research

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Extrapool is a printer in Nijmegen (Holland) using the stencil printing technique. This approach is a hard one to master but Jan Dirk and Joyce, the two owners, have been working with it day and night for over 20 years. You won’t find two people more passionate and dedicated to what they are doing than Joyce and Jan Dirk.

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L: Extrapool, “Electricity Pole series”, research R: (top) Extrapool, guestrooms (bottom) Extrapool, guestrooms

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L: Extrapool, “Electricity Pole series”, research R: Extrapool, kitchen

A few times a year a new wallpaper is added to their Slimtarra collection. It’s a mix of artists contributing a wallpaper design they can use and sell online. ‘Every now and then Extrapool invites artists from various fields to design a wallpaper for our public-space. The design can be aesthetically pleasing or conceptually sound, as long as it fits a DIN A3 paper. The wallpaper is printed by KNUST in Extrapool and DIN A3 is sort of the limited size for the stencil machines.’ (source: Extrapool website)

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L: Extrapool R: Extrapool, “Electricity Pole series”, research overleaf L&R: Extrapool, “Raspberry pink”, selected

I had the great pleasure to spend a week there to print and glue my design on one of their walls. Next to the very conceptual or illustrative wallpapers I decided to design a more commercial one. Using pink and blue, a very girly but sellable print was the result. During the production of this design some changes had to be made. While printing, we immediately noticed something strange occurred when holding it against the wall. A weird optical illusion emerged from the small yellow leaves against the dark pink background; the yellow leaves disappeared leaving yellow spots hard to look at. The first prints were used as wrapping paper and new ones without yellow were made for the wall.

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110 Interview

Jan-Dirk co-owner Extrapool

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To be continued This journey has been a long and hectic one. From the euphoria of a happy client, satisfied teacher and pleased self to the complete depression when working on the same thing for days and seeing no way out. Working with real clients has taught me to trust an opinion that wasn’t necessarily my own and work within different genres. Working in real spaces has brought the joy of seeing something get realized to the end. The satisfaction of a job that is done is incredible. Hopefully I will be able to continue this project and passion in whatever form possible next year.


A big thanks to: Joyce and Jan Dirk at Extrapool, Jens Oris, Jessie Bervoets, Dieter Homburg, Dirk Baeken, Jan Jan Van Essche, Pietro Celestina, Johan Desmet, Jan Olyslager, Aline Sternberg, Sandra Hollander, Veronique Brauner, Hilde Vanpelt, Philippe Van Gelooven and Melissa Abraham.