Having been around for over 10 years, Robin Sprong Wallpaper has cemented its position as one of the top places to look for wallpaper in South Africa – and if you’re after something locally designed or bespoke, the company should definitely be at the top of your list. Founder Robin Sprong says they ‘endeavour to produce creative designs which are not readily found elsewhere’ and he’s absolutely right.
He creates a huge variety of wallcoverings ranging from the characteristically abstract designs of Skinny laMinx, Fabricnation and Atang Tshikare to the fantastical botanicals of Room 13 Collection and Soil & Co. Also on offer are wallpapers based on works by celebrated South African artists Vladimir Tretchikoff (Robin Sprong Wallpaper is the official SA licensee for Tretchikoff wallpapers) and Walter Battiss.
And Robin Sprong Wallpaper is not just restricted to wallcoverings either: as well as custom-designed and photographic wallpapers, the company produces printed glass, fabric prints, vinyl tile stickers and many other surface-design concepts. ‘We don’t want our pieces to just decorate,’ says Sprong, ‘but to rather be works of art in their own right.’ We caught up with him recently to find out what’s trending now – and next – in this exciting area of design.
What’s your first wallpaper-related memory?
The first wallpaper that I created was for Daddy Long Legs Boutique Hotel in Long Street, Cape Town. The owners had the concept of having each room designed by a different creative person, and I was one of them. We were each given a budget of R15000 for our room, and I used mine to drive into the Karoo and shoot a 360-degree landscape. I then printed the wallpaper, blinds, lampshades and windows with the 360-degree scene. It looked great.
What wallpaper designs are the most popular at the moment?
Always popular are botanicals, as well as textures like concrete, brick and marble. We are also getting requests for a lot of geometrics and oversized paint strokes in abstract expressions. Green and blue hues are big, as are ombré prints.
Have the spaces and ways in which people use wallcoverings changed?
People are getting braver and you’re not hearing, ‘Oh, my granny used to have wallpaper’ any more. Wallpaper is not just for walls, it’s also for ceilings, floors, cupboards, kitchens, bathrooms – and now we’re inventing outdoor wallpaper, too. Wait for it.
Do you think social media is changing the way people think of wallpaper, and especially its use for ‘statement walls’?
Statement walls are totally out of vogue – the new click phrase is ‘all four walls’ and yes, Pinterest and Instagram are actually bringing in jobs for us, as these are the places people are finding inspiration and they trust those sources.
If you had to choose one pattern to use for everything, from clothing to wallcoverings, what would it be?
I would probably go with botanical patterns, as these express how I feel personally – and I can recycle my grandmother’s old curtains into a brand new suit to match.
Who would you like to collaborate with next, both locally and internationally?
There are so many talented people out there that I would love to work with, people who are really changing the game. Among them are locals Studio Kronk, Conrad Botes, Studio Muti, Studio 19, Paper Snap Studio, Wonder Meyer, Catherine Holtzhausen and Catherine Paynter, as well as Romanian artist and illustrator Saddo, Italy’s Mathery Studio and fellow Italian Chiara Pollano, and Llew Mejia, who lives and works in New York City. I’m giving away all my secrets here!
For more details and inspiration for your own space, visit robinsprong.com.