Founded in 2010 by Rick and Esther Vintage, NLXL hasn’t taken long in establishing itself as one of the industry’s most exciting wallpaper brands. Working with such leading names as Piet Hein Eek and Piet Boon, NLXL creates unique wallpaper designs taking inspiration from industrial spaces and raw materials, ranging from concrete and brick to scrapwood and tin. Having picked up multiple design awards and been featured in the windows of Saks and the Paul Smith store on 5th avenue, the Amsterdam-based brand is today one of the world’s best-loved wallpaper creators.
The Hut caught up with Rick Vintage to talk inspirations, the brand’s journey so far, and the home interior trends to watch out for in 2017.
- Question: NLXL is widely regarded as being as one of the brands at the forefront of home interior design. Where do you find inspirations for its new designs?
You can find inspiration in everything. If you can’t then you’re not looking properly
These are Sir Paul Smith’s words. And he is right. As a designer it is a daily job to collect and distribute inspiration. Getting inspiration is looking at things from different perspectives. Esther (our company’s President), Annetje (our Art Director) and I collect inspiration everywhere. We discuss our ideas every Monday morning. Most times we need a few days to let them blend. It usually blends when I am in the shower.
- Question: In just seven years NLXL has been featured in the windows of Saks 5th Avenue for the Alexander McQueen fashion collection introduction, used in the windows of the Paul Smith store on 5th Avenue, displayed in museums around the world and picked up multiple prestigious awards. What would you say has been the proudest moment on the brand’s journey so far?
In our second year we visited New York for ICFF. After the show Esther and I strolled down Broadway. Totally by surprise we spotted our wallpaper used as a backdrop at the Ralph Lauren flagship store. And then at Bloomingdales Soho, and a couple of minutes later at another store. A week later I found myself negotiating on the phone between the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. They both wanted to exclusively publish a new collection. So I was on the phone asking “so how large will the article actually be, because your competitor wants to publish it too!” Of course this is ridiculous for a tiny wallpaper company from Holland! But I felt really proud.
- Question: The NLXL Lab encourages moving away from the traditional way of creating a collection of wallpaper to use more innovative, experimental methods. What is the most complicated process you have used in your collections so far? Can you tell us a little about the atmosphere inside the NLXL Lab?
The most complicated was Piet Hein Eek’s copper wallpaper. He had to build a 10 metre long slope onto which he poured acids for a period of three months on a 10 metre long copper sheet. My production team wanted to know when it would be ready in order to make the deadline for the LAB catalogue. And both Piet and I had the same answer:
– “it’s ready when it’s nice!”
– “but when will that be?”
– “well… when it’s nice!”
– “yes but I need a date!”
– “Call Piet! Maybe he knows!”
And then Piet would give the exact same answer. I thought it was hilarious… but my team didn’t laugh.
- Question: Your products are popularly used in industrial and commercial spaces. How would you recommend your wallpapers be used at home?
I see a wall as a billboard. If you are going to put something on it you better make sure its bloody good. Our papers are a bold statement. It ranges from a faux background, like the Merci Brooklyn Tins, to eclectic art like Studio Job.
A photo posted by NLXL (@nlxl) on Jan 25, 2017 at 11:35am PST
- Question: What design trends do you expect to see emerge in 2017?
It’s a pity there is such little progress in interiors on a large scale. The smaller interior companies like Gervasoni are less afraid to experiment. Right now the return of Art Deco is eminent. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classics, but I would love to see more progress. Other new trends are marquetry, brass casting, Vaserelly influenced prints. And of course the “Vintage” look will be here for another decade or so.
- Question: What are the projects you are most looking forward to this year?
In 2016 I took a year off, which was very nice. But ideas are piled up in our heads right now so we are very excited about a lot of new things. One is that we are collaborating with Merci founder Marie France Cohen on her new company. It’s such an honour for us to work with her and her team. We will be presenting this new company and its product at Rosanna Orlandi during Salone del Mobile in April 2017. At this time we are traveling back and forth to Paris on a weekly basis. It is going to be very nice. And of course a very nice wallpaper is included in the plans. We are super excited about this!