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Interview with Julia Bancilhon, Founder & Creative Director at Wallpaper Design Studio: Made of Matter

Made of Matter is a brand new wallpaper design studio aiming to shake up the UK wallpaper industry. The new collection includes 22 of my own collage artwork (originally an artist) that have been reimagined into a series of maximalist wallpaper designs.

We digitally print all of our wallpapers to exact dimensions for our clients, which means no excessive printing and no wallpaper rolls that are never used. We also offer a bespoke service to clients, interior designers and architects whom I will work with to create designs for individual projects. We’ve also just launched a new virtual wallpaper showroom – the first of its kind to incorporate VR technology into retail wallpaper in this way.

For that, I invested in a 360 ° online experience that brought VR technology and transformed buying wallpaper on its head.

I partnered up with the new digital start-up NSCENA, founded by digital architect Palma Piedrahita, and together we created an immersive online experience that allowed us to create a surreal online store experience without physical boundaries or creative.

It is a reflection of my works which only unveil their stories as you take a closer look at them, uncovering the individual and unusual elements that make up the construction. I wanted customers to have the same confusing experience when they buy these models online – to really understand the brand I’m trying to create. What we have developed is brave, creative, and completely unique, which really sums up what Made of Matter is trying to do.

How did you come up with the idea for the business?

I studied Graphic and Media Design at the London College of Communication (UAL), with a specialization in Printmaking. After I graduated in 2015 – and started working as a graphic designer for music festivals in the UK – I started producing collage works of art and showing them at exhibitions in London and Paris. . In 2016, I discovered a box of sealed vintage wallpapers at my grandmother’s in France and it made me think of using the wallpaper as a canvas on which to present my works.

I brought this concept to life for an exhibition I launched in Hackney in 2017, covering the gallery walls with wallpaper representing my works. The feedback from the guests has been overwhelming, with many wanting to purchase the wallcoverings on the spot. This is what initially planted the seed of Made of Matter, and I started to form an idea for a business that was built around responsible wallpaper production and what that could look like.

It wasn’t until the pandemic struck in 2020 – when I was put on leave from my job as chief design officer at a tech startup – that I decided at some ‘now or never’ point that I was going to take an unexpected next step in my career and make this brand a reality. This then involved defining the brand – establishing a clear differentiation in the UK market in terms of product aesthetics, workmanship and a new concept for e-commerce. That’s when I joined forces with Palma Piedrahita, who was also embarking on his own tech start-up NSCENA, which created virtual spaces for brands and artists.

How has the business evolved during the pandemic?

The company really established its entire architecture in response to the pandemic. During the early days of the lockdown, I was showcasing my work through online virtual exhibitions using new technology developed specifically for artists to showcase their work to clients due to all art exhibition cancellations. A friend of mine had also adapted his gallery business to go completely virtual during the pandemic and showed that it could be a successful business model with more and more customers becoming VR savvy and more confident to buy. in line. It gave me the confidence to establish Made of Matter as an online-only presence and invest only in online technology to interact and engage with new customers.

With the interior market booming during the pandemic, I was also mindful of all the other new start-ups and what they were offering to customers. The market became increasingly crowded as a result of the pandemic, so it was vital that I evolve the brand so that it really stands out with a strong point of view. If anything, it led me to be more experimental with my designs and ideas. I saw a gap for a young luxury wallpaper brand that would appeal to a design-savvy audience that wants something quirky but at the same time extremely chic, but also heavily focused on sustainability.

What can we hope to see from Made of Matter in the future?

We are currently researching how to make our wallpaper from different types of organic waste as a raw material, which is an extremely fascinating process and one that I am really excited to put at the heart of the brand in the future. We are also starting to expand our designs to a range of household items, including tableware and textiles, working with collaborators who use recycled materials and more responsible production. All I do is try to link to more responsible consumption, and aim to minimize waste.


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