Flat Vernacular: “Nothing Is Too Crazy On Wallpaper”


NO. 8

Flat Vernacular

“Nothing Is Too Crazy On Wallpaper”


We know there’s a whole design philosophy that favors stark white walls and espouses “less is more,” but maybe those acolytes of minimalism have just never been exposed to the wild world of Flat Vernacular.

This design company—best known for its wallpaper, though it’s starting to produce textiles—was founded by Payton Cosell Turner and Brian Kaspr in 2010 and has made a huge impact in the world of interior design with patterns that practically beg you to lean in closer to better appreciate the detail and precision and beauty in each square inch. Because, once you get closer, you’ll find that a Flat Vernacular design actually seems to morph before your eyes. What at one glance is a somewhat traditional toile turns out to be, on closer inspection, a pattern dubbed “Derby: Sandbagging,” featuring monster trucks in lieu of a more pastoral scene. And then there’s the sticker wallpaper (most famously appearing in Lena Dunham’s Brooklyn Heights apartment), which involves hand-placing thousands of stickers on wallpaper, a painstakingly elaborate process that results in something so spectacular that you soon realize that what you have isn’t just wallpaper—it’s a true work of art. Having studied at the acclaimed Maryland Institute College of Arts, both Turner and Kaspr have fine arts backgrounds, but they met in a decidedly basic way—at a Baltimore bar, where Turner was imbibing in “a bright pink drink dubbed the My Little Pony,” and not long after discovered how well they worked together because, Turner says, “our personal work speaks a similar language and has since the very beginning.” But it’s the specificity of that language that makes their work unique. After all, where else have you seen an ikat wall covering made out of pencils, as designed by Kaspr, or a wallpaper patterned from false eyelashes, as conceived by Turner? 


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