The bold wallpaper that’s not for the faint-hearted, full of glorious colours and larger-than-life motifs

Giles Kime is delighted by a new trend for wallpaper which evokes the patterns, colours and even the aromas of Andalusia.

Passers-by would have to have been very deeply immersed in their iPhones to have missed the swathes of faux bourgainvillea tumbling down the front of the Cole & Son pop up on Paris’s Rue de Seine earlier this year. The occasion was Déco Off, one of the most enjoyable interior-design events in the universe, which takes place each January on the city’s Left Bank.

This is the Paris of La Palette, favoured hang-out of Picasso, Cézanne and Braque, of Madeleine Castaing and Serge Gainsbourg, and is a far cry from the aisles of an out-of-town exhibition centre.

Instead, visitors explore the shops dotted throughout the maze of streets around St Germain that managed to avoid Baron Haussmann’s energetic boulevardisation of the city in the 19th century. For a few days, galleries that for the rest of the year sell contemporary art and antiques are transformed into temporary showrooms displaying new collections of fabric, wallpaper and lighting.

The vividly pink blooms demonstrated the capacity of colour to transport you somewhere else, in this case from crisp Paris in January to the sunny streets of Seville in high summer. It was the architecture and horticulture of the Spanish city that inspired Cole & Son’s exciting new collection of wallpapers, a fact that explains its coherence and remarkable sense of place.

The launch is typical of the big, bold and confident approach of the historic brand that has brought us everything from the work of legendary British designer David Hicks to the surrealistic Italian artist Piero Fornasetti. True to form, the new pieces have the potential to be transformative.

Piccadilly wallpaper from Cole & Son

The common denominator of so many of Cole & Son’s collections is not only the bold use of glorious colours, but larger-than-life motifs that, in many cases, bear little relation to the scale of a domestic interior. Polite, chintzy florals these most certainly aren’t.

Anyone who has been to Seville will find the designs familiar; they offer a heady mix of orange blossom, geraniums and jasmine, together with patterns inspired by the city’s rich decorative heritage, gardens and architecture. They are exactly the sort of joyous, over-the-top designs that have the capacity to bring even the dullest space to life with and extraordinary richness of detail.
Cole & Son —