This screen-printed sidewall is meant to look like cement that has been impressed with a woodgrain pattern, because why not? The vertically-aligned board “impressions” are printed in light and dark grey with a granular texture that effectively imitates the rough surface of cement. The artists responsible for this industrially-inspired wallpaper are German furniture designers Klaus-Achim Heine and Uwe Fischer of GINDBANDE-Design. It was produced by German wallpaper company Rasch for their Zeitwände collection in 1992. The Rasch company is famous for their collaborations with avant-garde artists. In 1929 Dr. Emil Rasch, director of the company, negotiated a contract with the Bauhaus to produce their wallpaper designs. After a hiatus caused by WWII, Rasch continued to produce Bauhaus wallpapers, and by 1956 had expanded its collection to include modern designs by 50 freelance artists from at least 10 different countries. The Zeitwände collection featured the work of nine designers, including Memphis Group post-modern wunderkinds Ettore Sottsass, Nathalie du Pasquier and Alessandro Mendini.

Despite their manufacturer’s ties to the Bauhaus, GINBANDE-Design sought to separate themselves from the oft-repeated mantra of “form follows function” by creating pieces that “challenge the observer and user by causing irritation, uncertainty or amusement.” For example, a worktable that “responds to the slightest touch” is “working” when it moves. Whether the amusement at the pun makes up for the irritation caused by a wobbly work table is a matter of personal opinion. The B 100 wallpaper, with its ambiguous and elusive material identity, cleverly fills the designers’ desire to cause the user uncertainty to the user.

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