Why you should care

Now you can have a moving roller coaster on your wall, without the LSD.

Imagine a room where the walls are moving in on you. Bright blossoms cover the walls, popping toward your face. Tree branches sway. Viking ships tumble through rough seas toward you … and it doesn’t matter what you do — they won’t stop moving.

This isn’t a down-the-rabbit-hole LSD experience. It’s the dizzying invention of Connecticut-based design company Twenty2: eye-popping 3-D wallpaper. It might sound like science fiction, but this is no concept product. Launched in May 2015 at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, the wallpaper is available to purchase for $58-$110 a yard. Viewers can choose to experience the wallpaper in one dimension, or don the anaglyph glasses provided with each roll — that let you view cyan/red stereoscopically — to see the full three-dimensional movements. The designs are digitally printed on coated paper that can be cleaned with soap and water.

The “Whee!” design is created to evoke the adrenaline high of roller coasters, with twisting lines and fluid movement.

The five different patterns in the DEEP 3-D collection are the work of design students from the Pratt Institute School of Design, New York. Twenty2’s owners, husband and wife Robertson and Kyra Hartnett, mentored the students during the process, combining their expertise at printing with the students’ creativity. Four years of collaborating has paid off, and Kyra Hartnett says the final designs demonstrate increased talents in pattern repetition and dimension. The floral-filled Bloom design by LuzElena Wood, which Kyra says is their most inquired-about design (no sales so far), takes a modern look at iconic floral motifs of the past. The “Whee!” design by Leticia Pardo is created to evoke the adrenaline high of roller coasters, with its twisting lines and fluid movement forms. The wallpaper “defies textile boundaries,” says Kyra. “There is a choice being made by the viewer to deepen the experience.”

But a wall-covering that requires special glasses to enhance the experience? Pretty cool at first, perhaps, but the novelty is likely to wear off, and it’s fairly easy to lose the spectacles. So this might become just another form of expensive wall art … which kinda negates the point of it. And it’s quite an expensive point to make as well, as boutique studios charge boutique prices. Interior designer Sarah Barnard, based in Santa Monica, California, is not a fan. Extremely graphic prints “might tire the eyes,” she explains. When it comes to wall coverings, she suggests ignoring trends and “choosing materials and patterns that soothe the soul and provide a much needed rest from the busyness of everyday life.”

But Hartnett believes there is beauty in what they’ve created, stressing that their goal was to curate a collection of patterns that were beautiful in all dimensions — adding pizzazz without being intrusive. And some would say it’s exciting to see how imagination and technology applied to a mundane material can extend possibilities and how we view art at home.

The future is here; you just need to know how to look for it.

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