It’s quirky, colourful and pictorial. It’s a conversation starter and creates a mood; it adds depth and texture and a unique aspect to an interior that is hard to parallel. English wallpaper manufacturer Cole & Son is renowned for its high quality papers, moving from the very traditional through to ranges that have impeccable relevance in today’s market. But it is their latest African collection, known as Ardmore, that is causing a stir.

Wallpaper itself has seen an increase in popularity over the last few years, especially at the higher end of the market. “People are moving from feature walls to using wallpaper on all four walls of a room,” Icon Textiles + Wallcoverings director Claire Drake says. “While feature walls are still very popular, a lot of people are also using papers on other walls, sometimes in a contrast, and sometimes in a range of different papers.”

What people are starting to realise, Claire says, is that using wallpapers instead of paint is a way to create an instant impact – a plain paper with a very slight texture, for example, creates an instant depth and warmth to an otherwise plain space.

But it’s the bold and the beautifully vibrant papers that are taking hold in New Zealand, particularly in commercial spaces, she says, which is where Cole & Son’s latest African-inspired range has seen tremendous appeal.

Based on art by Ardmore Ceramics, the range is a collaboration between the ceramic artists and Cole & Son, which emulates the landscapes, animals and flora of the African continent, introducing bold patterns and designs into our interiors.

“One of the reasons it’s so popular in New Zealand, is that its colour palette is particularly suited to our light,” Claire says. “New Zealand has a distinctly yellow-green landscape and the colours in this range work very well with the New Zealand light and the tone really works in with our landscape.

“There’s a real story with the Ardmore range, from the fine artist who moved into relative isolation, living out in the wild with a farmer, to the staff members who she collaborated with to start Ardmore Ceramics. These papers have a distinct feel to them, which we find people are attracted to – people enjoy feeling connected to their possessions in some way.”

Based around Africa’s exotic flora and fauna, from rare birds to big cats, elephants, rhinos and monkeys, to the vibrant patterns of Zulu beadwork and woven basketware, there are many ways to use this range.

“Because people are moving towards using paper for every wall of a room rather than just as a singular feature wall, we’re seeing them utilising the Ardmore papers in this way by combining different papers to create these stunningly bold visual aesthetics within interior spaces. And we’re seeing these papers used in everything from commercial interiors to residential spaces inside contemporary homes right through to Victorian villas.”

The colours are drawn from the natural African landscapes; from chalky, ochred desert plains to sun-bleached shimmering outcrops and the vibrant fresh greens of water-kissed rainforests.

“The collection includes soft and subtle explorations of the majestic landscape as well as colourful creations capturing the vibrancy of traditional African culture. It creates a lovely sense of movement and a really unique visual presence.”

Icon Textiles are the exclusive distributor of Cole & Son wallpapers in New Zealand. Focusing on the supply of furnishing textiles and wall coverings, Icon’s products are available at stockists throughout the country.

If you’re in need of an exotic addition to your interiors, get in touch with Icon Textiles on ArchiPro here to discover the beauty of the latest wallpaper collections.