Calico Wallpaper: The Captivating Papers

By Kealia Reynolds

If there were two words to describe Calico Wallpaper, they would be big and beautiful. Founded by Nick and Rachel Cope in 2013, Calico Wallpaper is truly one of the most unique wallpaper companies we’ve stumbled upon. The founders take the arts of Suminagashi and Ebru, traditional paper marbling practices, and combine them with new techniques, materials, and technologies to create stunning masterpieces.

After both of Nick’s and Rachel’s jobs were put on hold after Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2013 (Rachel was an art therapist at NYU and Nick had a design practice), the couple discovered beautiful, marbled papers at a curiosity shop in the East Village and started experimenting with paper marbling.

Rachel had long been fascinated with the paper marbling process and explored it briefly as a child while working on crafts with her mother. Nick and Rachel soon realized that they had something interesting on their hands and decided to translate the handmade designs into large-scale murals.

After initially launching three marble designs—Wabi, Lunaris, and Night—Nick and Rachel created the Aurora collection that comprises a series of ombré prints inspired by traditional fiber arts and fabric dying. The original designs were handmade and then translated digitally so they could be printed on a larger scale for interior application.

“We feel that the combination of craft and technology is a happy marriage for us and allows us to produce murals that are non-repeating, can fit any size space, as well as be customized in color and texture,” says Nick.

Tempest From the Sumi collection

Behind the designs

Calico Wallpaper designs are absolutely breathtaking. Every collection is inspired by landscapes, scientific phenomena, and artistic practices.

“When coming up with our designs, we like to experiment with different art processes and materials, creating patterns that are both rooted in history and entirely new at the same time,” says Nick.

We here at House Method are obsessed with the Oceania collection. Recently launched at Salone del Mobile, these papers explore fluidity of form by offering an immersion into underwater landscapes. A salt-resist process was combined with watercolor painting to evoke the depth and movement of the sea meeting the shore.

If something brings warmth and pleasure it should not be considered just a frivolity, rather it can have a tangible effect on one’s quality of life.”

Frida From the Palette collection

So, what’s the value prop?

When asked what sets Calico Wallpaper apart from other wallpaper companies, Nick says, “When it comes to interiors, we are fascinated with this notion of creating immersive environments that tell a story, therefore we attempt to design wallpaper products that are more than just background. Our goal is to create something that bridges the gap between design and art.”

Nick goes on to state that Calico Wallpaper believes “beauty has a sort of practicality and that if something brings warmth and pleasure it should not be considered just a frivolity, rather it can have a tangible effect on one’s quality of life.”

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