Producers and designers of contemporary wallpaper are constantly pushing the boundaries of the medium, creating forms beyond what is generally accepted or imagined when one envisions wallpaper. For LED Wallpaper the combined efforts of Ingo Maurer and Architects Paper produced a method of design that had not been integrated into wallpaper up until this point. Ingo Maurer is a German artist and designer who is most famous for his lighting designs and installations revolving around light. As a testament to his interests and expertise, he worked with Architects Paper in 2013 to create a wallpaper littered with LED lights. Architects Paper is a German wallpaper company that was established in 2008 and is actively producing luxury wall coverings today. Unfortunately, this paper has been discontinued and can no longer be purchased through the company.
In person the paper is a dazzling sight to behold, each repeat includes sixty blue, sixty red, and forty-eight white LED lights. The blue and red lights create a prominent cube design while the white lights shimmer as a secondary pattern in the background. Initially, this paper came in three different base colors, green, which is installed here at the museum, black, and white. The black paper deviates from the other two in that it only contains white lights. As an added feature, the lights can be programmed to turn on and off at different intervals which allows for each repeat to be somewhat customizable. Viewing the paper in a darkened room creates an illusionary, three dimensional effect as the cubes seem to hang in space, disappear and then reappear. In addition to the lights, viewers can also see the circuity running through the paper in a geometric zig-zag pattern, hinting at the materiality of the piece.
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.