Spoiled Copper Wallpaper by Piet Hein Eek

Dutch wallpaper brand NLXL Lab have launched a new collection of wallpapers including designs from Piet Hein Eek, Niel Poulton, Studio Job, Paola Navone and NLXL founders Rick & Esther Vintage. Founded in 2014, NLXL Lab was established to launch products outside of NLXL’s traditional collection launches. Originally intended as an online exclusive brand via a small section of retailers, Lab is now available worldwide. We caught up with Mr Rick Vintage to discuss the new collection and future plans.

Supermarket Wallpaper by Paola Navone

Its almost two years exactly since you launched NLXL LAB. In that time you have launched a total of eleven wallpaper designs, key charms, tea towels, stools and notebooks. Did you feel it was time present a new series of wallpaper designs?

Well since the inception of NLXL LAB we have made collections with Paola Navone, Daniel Rozensztroch and "Materials" with Piet Hein Eek. I took a sabbatical for one year and spent a lot of time having lunch and drinking wine with designers. This way we got more ideas for wallpapers. LAB was originally intended as an online exclusive line. But this had two down sides. The first is that we have a niche product. Which is ok because there is a large market for niche products. But by selling it online we created a niche within a niche. And than the niche suddenly becomes to limited to create good enough sales. Second: we have an enormous client base. And they all loved the LAB ideas. But we had to turn them down because of the "online only" limit. So when our designers came up with some pretty good new ideas we decided to invest in catalogues and promotion to get LAB out to our retailers worldwide.

Spoiled Copper Wallpaper (Metallic) by Piet Hein Eek

Black Brick from the original NLXL LAB range was recently added Materials. Do you feel the freedom of one-off designs can give can give birth to a wider collection. Can you see that potential within the designs?

That's the great thing about LAB. We add something and we take something out. It's like music. Nobody buys an album anymore. They just buy (or download) the songs they love. That's NLXL LAB. Which is a rarity in the very traditional wallpaper biz. And it gives us a level freedom. And to me freedom is the most important thing in life.

Coloured Chalk Wallpaper by Mr & Mrs Vintage

The new Mr & Mrs Vintage designs are starkly different from the your Big Pattern Murals, does this contrast perfectly sum up the brand? The freedom to create and produce no matter what the style?

Yes. As Piet Hein Eek puts it: "you and Esther don't have any boundaries or rules as designers. You can just put anything you think might work on the market. That's a very comfortable position."

Microscopic Slides Wallpaper by Mr & Mrs Vintage

How did the collaboration with Scottish product designer Neil Poulton come about?
I think we met Neil during our presentation of Studio Job in Milan in 2014. I am terrible with faces but Neil looks like Robert Palmer so I recognised him. I have always admired his work, who doesn't have his orange portable LaCie hard drive next to their iMac? We had a couple of lunches in his hometown Paris. He was sketching an idea to us on a napkin. Right there he came up with the idea to make a sketch wallpaper. It includes early designs for Artemide and LaCie. He came to our office in the Netherlands to look at the proofs and there he actually added some sketches by hand to complete the design.
Sketches Wallpaper by Neil Poulton
The Wall Wallpaper by Studio Job
Can you tell us bit about the two Studio Job editions, The Wall and Robber Baron?
Nynke and Job separated and Nynke got an apartment in Amsterdam. They simply called me, sent me the file and installed the paper. No glamour there. Robber Baron is a different story. In 2013 Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel of Studio Job were asked to curate a collection for Chamber, a New York based design gallery and boutique founded by curator Juan Garcia Mosqueda. Chamber displays and sells limited edition art and design pieces. For our 2015 "Archives by Studio Job" collection we made proof prints of all the designs on metallic. Job loved it but we were sure that making the entire collection would again be a niche within a niche. But Robber Baron looked so fantastic that Job and I decided to use it for Chamber. Chamber had an exclusive right for 2 years so I am very pleased to finally add it to LAB.
Robber Baron Wallpaper by Studio Job
September 14, 2016 — John Richards

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