City Park is a repeating sidewall paper designed by Dan Funderbrugh for Flavor Paper. It was acquired by the Cooper Hewitt in 2007 and is among a variety of more modern papers that have been obtained by the museum as of late. Collecting from all time periods is essential in keeping museum records up to date and for providing visitors with an enriching experience. This paper is particularly eye catching because of its glossy appearance, due to its medium of screen print on Mylar, and that its design focuses on elements that are commonly associated with the modern cityscape.
A cursory glance may reveal to the viewer the paper’s focal imagery of parking meters and fire hydrants, while a longer look will uncover pigeons seated among the flowers and rats peeking out from the ornamentation along the sides. All of these contemporary depictions can be seen as urban nuisances which contrasts with the historical Damask style that this paper is copying.
Damask papers were usually used in the parlor or other public room and therefore had a more formal appearance, consisting mostly of floral or other purely ornamental patterns. Adding to the uniqueness of this paper is the ability for the consumer to modify it. Flavor Paper, as a contemporary business, is still producing the City Park paper and provides a variety of fun customization options. Some options that differ from Cooper Hewitt’s piece include the exclusion of the rats and changes to the ground color.
Emily Ewen is a student in the History of Design & Curatorial Studies graduate program at the Cooper Hewitt, and is a Master’s Fellow in the Wallcoverings Department.