Custom wallpaper created explicitly for you by artists may just be up there with diamond-encrusted laptop chargers or a private chef for your dog in terms of things that are generally out of realistic reach for most of us plebeians. But here’s good news for anyone who’s ever wanted to mimic the look of bespoke wall coverings: The look, feel, and artistry that makes them appear expensive is about to get a lot more accessible. Nashville-based art and design studio New Hat—which previously specialized exclusively in custom wall coverings and multimedia installations—just rolled out its first-ever collection of ready-made wallpaper… and it’s seriously good, you guys.
Founded in 2016 by artists Kelly Diehl and Elizabeth Williams, New Hat draws on rich colors and eclectic patterns. The company’s designs are inspired by everything from pre-colonial Peru to futuristic solar systems—a fairly broad source of inspo, but one that instantly makes sense given the variety of the collection. It’s anything but one note, with designs ranging from sleek geometric prints to funky graphics.
“This collection is a culmination of what we have learned and created over the last few years designing custom papers,” Diehl and Williams tell Domino, saying that launching a ready-made line has always been a goal of theirs. “We are inspired by what happens at the intersection of fine art and design, and we tend to gravitate toward bold colors and architectural lines. The first collection is meant to showcase the breadth of our design aesthetic, and we feel we achieved that.”
The line, succinctly dubbed “Collection One”, features 12 designs starting at $55 for a 27” x 36” sheet. Drawing from its community, New Hat worked with fellow local Nashville artists and designers to create several of the patterns in the vibrant collection.
The first print, “camo botanico,” features a camouflage pattern in both bright and more subdued colorways. “Blue nile,” a simple geometric design referencing classic architectural features, is available in both a cobalt blue and terracotta. The “above below” wall coverings are made-to-order—the most customizable of the collection. That range plays with 3D shapes, in both a multicolored and monochromatic hue.
On the graphic side, “minerva” showcases a chain-link design and serpentine lines, purportedly paying homage to Minerva, the American Queen of Mystery (for the Google-averse, she was one of the first successful female escape artists). “Plinth” is the team’s reference to totemic and sculptural forms, available in striking tones of emerald or red.
But the most eclectic—and the one with indisputably the best name—is “crappy magic wallpaper.” It was a collaboration with Nashville artist David Hellams, and features an array of seemingly unrelated objects, like an oven mitt and an action figure. According to New Hat, it’s a “humorous take on turning the dregs of mass consumption into art.” According to us, it’s a slightly out there, but seriously cool idea for a statement accent wall.
While the wallpaper is the undeniable focal point of Collection One, the launch also includes a series of smaller home goods and accessories. Shop items like a hand towel that takes its name quite literally (there are human hands emblazoned on the front) and a silky tie made in the image of the “plinth” print.
For Diehl and Williams, each piece in the collection—from the playful accessories to the bold wallpaper prints—is a true reflection of themselves as artists. “It was difficult at first, because we are so used to solving problems for clients and drawing inspiration for our custom projects, while Collection One came solely from our own brains. We could do whatever we wanted!” says the duo. “We spent a long time staring at Post-its on walls to distill down all our muses.”
At the intersection of art and slightly irreverent cultural commentary, New Hat’s inaugural ready-to-buy launch is one worth celebrating. Maximalists—both seasoned and aspiring—get your credit cards ready.
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