Anatomy Of A Design: Liane Ricci Discusses Her Abstract Wallcoverings

Liane Ricci joins us to discuss the design process behind her wallpaper collections. Creating both hand-painted and printed wallcoverings has given Liane the creative freedom to design using different finishes and techniques, with each roll featuring sophisticated color palettes and oversized repeats.

Take a look at the collections here:

 

Raymond Paul Schneider: When did you first start to develop your wallpaper collection?
Liane Ricci: Although I have been exhibiting my paintings in galleries since 2002, I consider myself to be a lifelong art student. In June of 2016, I traveled to Vittorio Veneto, Italy, to study fresco painting with a master restoration artist. I believe knowledge adds depth to an artist’s toolbox and there is always more to explore when it comes to history and technique. It was also an extraordinary opportunity for me to deepen my connection with my Italian heritage. It was a deeply moving trip, and I was immediately inspired after experiencing such creativity in textiles and murals in the museums and along the Strada. I began to think about how to translate my art into a larger scale and ultimately released three collections including digitally printed patterned wallpapers, hand-painted wall panels, and hand-painted mural papers.

Cora in colorway Venice. Digitally printed on faux silk paper. Photo by Brad Bunyea.

Cora in colorway Venice. Digitally printed on faux silk paper. Photo by Brad Bunyea.

Raymond: What was the overall timeline from conception to achieving the final ‘product’?
Liane: For the printed collection, the cycle took a full year. After the fresco workshop, I returned to my studio in Los Angeles and created several initial paintings over the next few months. The paintings were scanned into hi-resolution digital files, and we began the process of manipulating the digital files for the ideal repeat and colorways. I should mention that I moved across the country to NC during this process! Once I connected with a printing partner, we ran the first samples. Achieving accurate color required several attempts, but soon the printed collection was complete.

All the while, my hand-painted wallcoverings were completely on the backburner. It was not so easy to paint large-scale panels from my sister’s guest bedroom while I waited for my home to be ready! But before too long I had settled in Chapel Hill and was able to paint again. Still, my home studio wasn’t the ideal accommodation for hand-painted wallpaper and mural production – but I did it anyway! My first order for 50 square feet of hand-painted wallpaper was created in a 13×13 foot room. I even had my first employee working at the house with me for a couple of months until September of 2020 when we finally moved into my current studio space in Durham. Now, we’re enjoying 1800 square feet and offering our painted wallpaper collection in addition to painted mural papers and bespoke custom murals.

Insporation for “Atmosphere” shown here.

Insporation for “Atmosphere” shown here.

Raymond: What was your initial inspiration, and where did the idea(s) come from?
Liane: While the trip to Italy launched my art practice into the form of wallpapers, ideas for the individual designs have sprung up from a variety of sources. Travel, nature, and art history are always strong influencers. A trip to Norway in 2019 prompted the mural design “Tectonic”, while images of “The Pont Neuf Wrapped,” by Christo and Jeanne- Claude were the inspiration for the design “Cascade.” The design “Carson” is inspired by African textiles, and “Greystone’s Daughter” is my nod to more traditional floral motifs. Sometimes ideas come to me as I’m falling asleep or while I’m driving.

Meditation is important. I try to incorporate a good amount of silence in my day to allow my mind to settle and be receptive to intuition.

Raymond: Please describe your overall creative and design process.
Liane: The majority of my designs are abstract. I often like to start the process by allowing lines and shapes to form without too much thought. Putting pencil to paper without a set goal is an opportunity to explore ideas freely. Then, I’ll go back and edit what I’ve done, pulling out interesting shapes. I may even overlap two separate drawings, playing with transparencies to discover new shapes, pushing and pulling the scale and movement of a composition. There’s a cycle of building it up and scaling it back until it feels balanced and succinct.

Atmosphere in colorway Glacier. Hand-painted wallpaper panels.

Atmosphere in colorway Glacier. Hand-painted wallpaper panels.

Raymond: Did you have a specific audience or theme that you had in mind?
Liane: I love connecting with interior designers who have an aesthetic that’s sophisticated yet playful. One of the most unique options that we offer are our bespoke custom mural papers. The process is akin to commissioning an original work of art, which gives designers a platform to truly get creative. Clear communication is key, so I provide mockups and strike-offs along the way, but a little faith is also required. No two bespoke custom murals will be exactly alike – that’s the nature of the process. Throughout art history, commissioned murals have had great significance. I think it’s an exciting opportunity to create something extraordinary.

Raymond: Please describe the methods, tools, and materials you used to develop and prototype this design?
Liane: For our hand-painted wallpapers, we start with a heavy-duty vinyl wallpaper ground. I experimented with several methods and submitted all of the prototypes for extensive testing to ensure high standards of performance and safety. We use a specially-formulated interior paint that is rich in color and is super durable, and many of the designs have a top layer of metallic glaze for a little extra shimmer. For our design “Wabi-Sabi”, we apply a layer of fiber paste texture in block sections to create a gorgeous raw organic style against slick metallic lines. For an even higher level of durability, we offer an acrylic topcoat that has a very low VOC and commercial-grade durability tolerance. This makes our hand-painted wallpapers an ideal choice for a feature area in a hospitality project such as a hotel lobby or restaurant entrance.

Tectonic in colorway Oslo. Hand-painted mural paper. Photo by Richard Bettinger.

Tectonic in colorway Oslo. Hand-painted mural paper. Photo by Richard Bettinger.

Raymond: Did you utilize a new technique or technology to conceptualize this product?
Liane: Very recently there have been some exciting advances in digital printing using UVgel printers. It’s a total game-changer. With traditional technologies, color consistency and continuity had been a huge challenge. Now, with UVgel printing, color is cured onto the paper with higher precision and less variance caused by temperature and humidity. The new method works beautifully with our different ground papers. The richness and subtle texture are just stunning. The result is an art-driven product that is highly reliable.

Raymond: Describe your overall brand DNA and Ethos
Liane: We are dedicated to making something beautiful. There is pure joy in that quest. I embrace the concept of slow design, allowing each work of art to have the room to breathe and mature in its most elegant form possible. And even though we’re a small-scale art studio, we will always push to be increasingly innovative and provide stellar customer service.

Forest in colorway Indigo. Hand-painted wallpaper panels.

Forest in colorway Indigo. Hand-painted wallpaper panels.

Click here to see more of our “Anatomy of a Design” series.

Like what you see? Get it first with a subscription to aspire design and home magazine.

Facebook Comments

aspire design and home is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, aspire creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, aspire explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. aspire design and home is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.