A few weeks ago I had the chance to meet Anne-Sophie and Löic, the founders of the brand Estampe&Co. We received an email featuring their products, we liked them so we thought it was a nice opportunity to go deeper and know more about these two creatives and their work. We decided to meet Hoxley & Porter in Islington to have a glass of wine. I arrived first, the place they chose was beautiful, I got to the second entrance door passing by a corridor that reminds the carriage of a train, and then I sat in the bar area akin to that of a hotel lobby-cum-bar of a tropical 1920s hotel. When Anne-Sophie and Löic arrived after a few minutes we sat together and had a long talk about design, Paris, London and wallpapers of course!
Tell us about your first collection Amazonia.
This first collection was launched last February, we designed it in London and we collaborate with a print shop in Lyon to produce it. Through this shop we have different kind of supports available, from the traditional tapestry wallpaper of about 300 grams which gives an old fashioned feel, to another kind of wallpaper, of about 180 grams, more classical and similar to a canvas fabric. Moreover we are launching soon a peel and stick vinyl that you can apply and remove from the wall easily and with no damage. We want to have both contemporary and traditional pieces in our collections, and this last one fits the way of living of many people today, renting a flat and not having possibility to decorate it with a permanent solution such as a traditional wallpaper. We think it is important to have our patterns printed on different supports, from the luxurious to the handy one for any necessity.
Where did you get inspiration for this first collection?
The first concept of Amazonia came because we felt involved into the environmental issue, we want to do a responsible design, in fact our wallpapers are all eco-friendly made with water based glue. We started thinking to continents, it was in september last year, so we were still in the Summer mood of colourful patterns, we discarded Antartica for this reason, and so we decided to go for Amazonia, where you can find so many tribes and different animals, whose lives are endangered today, because industrial society threatens their natural environment. One of our pattern is inspired by the Awà tribe for example, which is made of about two hundred people who live in the Brazilian territory, another one by the Ara Azul bird, and a third by howler monkey. If you look at our patterns you do not recognise immediately the theme, you need to get into the composition, and after you realise it is a face, or an animal.
Do you think is there an ideal space for your wallpapers?
We believe our wallpapers can fit anywhere, the animals can go more in a child bedroom, while the Ihia wallpaper instead can suit more a bathroom, because it reminds moroccan tiles. Most of the commissions we have so far are for kitchens or living rooms, but our products can be used also in commercial spaces such as restaurants since they are all fire rated class “0”. The print shop we collaborate with is in touch with many professional and can advise us promptly according to the commission we have.
How did you meet?
Löic: Both of us studied Fine Art in France, but in different towns, so we met in Paris after our studies, during an internship in a contemporary art gallery, Anne-Sophie was at the end of her internship and she trained me for a couple of months before she left, and we stayed in touch.
Anne-Sophie: I moved to London three years ago, six month after leaving the job at the art gallery, and when Löic moved also, after more than one year, he called me and he proposed to do something together.
How did you get to wallpaper from a Fine Art background?
Anne-Sophie: I worked on patters for my final diploma in Fine Art, I was working around the concept of the object and the application of the pattern on it. When I met Löic again in London we put together our drawing skills and we thought the best way to join and make a unique project out of them.
Löic: I was more working on portraits, and self portraits, so the question was: How can we join our two ways of drawing into one? So we started with a stamp. We began using stamps on rolls of wallpapers, meters and meters. We had a workshop together. The initial idea was to make handmade wallpaper with stamps, arty wallpaper I can say, at the very beginning. While working we instead decided to focus more towards digital and create our start up, that first idea is now aside but not totally forgotten. Some of our final patterns are more stylised and the others are more handy/figurative, that’s because we have different skills, and that’s why the collection is very mixed. Amazonia was the union between our two practices, one more classical and old school, while the other is digital, reminding 70s and 60s modern wallpapers.
Do you have retailers ?
We sell on our website, but also on InYourSoup and on Etsy. We recently collaborated with the concept store Hexagone in Islington, a shop dedicated only to French designs, which also helps arising creatives, we did a setting up in the shops’ window display together with other two small brands for three weeks. The owner had the idea to create an interior in the window, and it was interesting how your product can help to sell others and viceversa.
Why London and not Paris.
Anne-Sophie:Personally I followed my boyfriend that wanted to finish his studies. Therefore for me was the opportunity for a new experience. Paris is boring, it is the gallery, while London is the workshop. Paris is a city to show yourself and your products, a beautiful place, but if you want to start your own business it is more difficult, too many costs and a mentality that looks only to the past. We feel more judged in France rather then in London, as I studied fine art people say you are an artist and not a designer. Here in London you can be whoever you want, indipendetely from your background. In France people are a bit more pessimist, while here people say “just try”, and there is the right energy and atmosphere. We live in Shoreditch and we see creativity everywhere. In Paris everything is settled, you know where every is, there is not unexpected.
Tell us about your motto: Designed in London, Made in France
Löic: We are living in England but we are French so we do not want to loose the opportunity to work in both countries. In France we have more contacts. Working here there is more energy to spend. In the near future we plan to improve the sticker collection, make it available in small pieces as well as in big rolls. We want to add a new type of printing and wall decoration, give the possibility of making a new wall in two minutes. An adhesive paper you can apply on fridges, and cupboard doors, something you can buy in roll and that is very handy, changeable every season.
Thanks to Estampe&Co for this beautiful interview, a new fresh breath in the world of wallpapers sensible to the issue of the environment. A demonstration of the young creative vibe that is linking people of generation.