A jaw-dropping confluence of technology and décor resulting in surfaces with astonishing attributes.
In a world where we have more vertical space than horizontal, the only way out is up! Gone are the days when floors, walls and furniture were treated with the same mundane finishes that made up a home. With surfaces making their mark in the market with ground breaking innovations, the design industry is scheduled for a big rehabilitation!
Surfaces are an integral part of this up-climb and contribute visually in addition to functional use. Wallpapers have been making a mark in the market for some time now and there are some formidable new innovations that are creating a global stir.
Ever wondered if human interaction with wallpaper would result in a reaction from the paper? Or if a tech savvy hacker neighbor decided to steal your Wi-Fi which was being blocked by… well… paper?!? Now, such creative wallpapers have entered the industry that can do all of the above. Let’s delve into some of these materials that help transition us from regular to ‘smart’.
A frequency selective surface wallpaper for the attenuation of Wi-Fi signals. Following the Ice Age and Stone Age, the Digital Age is upon us now. From phones to appliances to now surfaces, every brilliant mind is conjuring up crafty new ways to incorporate a smart way of utility. ‘Metapaper’, is an introduction that keeps intruders from stealing your Wi-Fi signal from neighboring areas. This invention selectively filters electromagnetic waves, strengthens the signal inside the space you are working in and additionally decreases noise pollution, securing your space all over with minimal external distraction. The printing of conductive inks is done using industrial printing techniques.
This novel new product is so gratuitous, it almost seems necessary. The silver-crystal coated wallpaper has the silver crystals are arranged in such a way that they are able to block certain wireless frequencies which is the best part – it is designed only to block selective radiation-that means that cellular data and radio transmission can still go through! It’s like a miracle wrapped in paper, slapped on to your walls!
Even though setting a password on Wi-Fi is cheaper than installing yards of wallpaper, this innovation demonstrates the rising concern about digital security and may appeal to consumers looking for added protection as they redecorate. For an even more paranoid mindset, one can coat Wi-Fi blocking paint on top of it. If this wasn’t enough, it is recyclable as it is made from renewable resources hence good for the environment as well as your conscience.
It is currently available in a white snowflake pattern which you can use on its own as well as cover it up with decorative wallpaper and/or paint while still achieving the desired effects.
It may not be needed for your entire home but it could definitely be used for case selective offices and other work spaces that have their own Wi-Fi.
Redecorate on the Fly
Interactive surface wallpaper that reacts to touch and temperatures. What if you could change the look of your home without having to do a thing? Each day you walked into your home and it looked different? That would really be something else. With the likes of renowned artists Shi Yuan among others introducing a brand new concept which actually has your wall surfaces changing colour on their own, the design industry can tuck away yet another one under its belt.
We have all seen colour changing fabrics and films but now we have the indulgence of touch and temperature controlled wallpaper created via the impregnation of thermochromic inks into it.
Heat reactive surfaces have a number of amazing applications but one of the most impressive is the color-changing wallpaper which is visibly livened up due to interactivity. Heat rising from a wall mounted radiator can cause a design change while the warmth of one’s hands can add colour to a previously monotonous background.
As the temperature rises within a room, the flowers on a branch slowly bloom, breathing additional life and color into a given space. As night falls and cooler temperatures prevail, the colorful flower print slowly fades back to a mellow green. Thermochromic inks can be activated by conductive threads and a power source, creating a display that changes colour. How this works is that the paper is injected with thermochromic ink which changes colour in response to body heat and also invites people to create different designs through touch making it a fun activity. These patterns remained pressed on the surface only to change back to its setting once it changes back to room temperature.
Thermochromic inks take advantage of thermochromism, which refers to materials that change their hues in response to temperature fluctuations. Still hate that lime green? Pony up for the right paint and on a warm day, it could morph from a Kermit the Frog hue into a more tolerable sunshine yellow. These inks first hit the mainstream in the 1970s, appearing in one of that era’s lasting icons – the mood ring, which supposedly used the wearer’s body heat as a sign of his or her emotional state.
Not limited to just wallpaper, of course, this same strategy by Shi Yuan can be applied to posters or other decorative objects – and can encourage people to touch and otherwise interact with normally stationary and passive designs. Likewise, as a reminder of each passing day, the cooling of night can erase the current date on your wall-mounted calendar and show the passing of time into the next.
What’s more, with the use of conductive inks made with silver particles, the wallpaper not only contains touch sensors but also special speakers that are imprinted into it.
Light-emitting wallpaper that doubles up as a light source, redefines things in an out-of-date space.
The ultimate surface in the home illumination segment is the light-emitting wallpaper created by a young enterprising Netherlands designer, Jonas Samson.
Lighting has always played an extremely vital role in the ambience of a space, especially in changing moods and sizing up or down of rooms. The elements that come together when the right lighting is achieved transform a room into a seamless combination of functionality and style.
However, there is a brand new concept of adding light to a room without actually buying multiple fixtures to create an ambience – Light emitting wall paper. This wallpaper owes its appealing luminescence to light-emitting LEDs’ embedded in the wall covering.
Tiny, thin and cool, LEDs allow wallpaper designers to create innovative wallpapers that double as light sources – they can even be adjusted to provide as much light as needed or desired.
How does it work? Samson explained that the wallpaper actually uses existing technology, but applies it in a different way-The base material is made from commercially available products that are manufactured by a number of companies. What is done, though, is that this technology is applied in a different way. Delving deeper, he revealed that the wallpaper is constructed by ‘sandwiching’ a number of layers together that combine to produce light. The back layer is a silver-based solution that conducts electricity, while the layer above this contains phosphorous pigments that light up. On top of this is a flexible, transparent Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) conductor layer with regular wallpaper placed on top to act as the final, outwardly visual layer.
The result- when it’s switched on is a visually stunning wall-of-light that can be turned off and on, just like a regular light. This creation was first revealed at the public at the Milan Design Week and it seems to be a must-have for those who can afford it. Given that everything is designed from scratch and made to order, there are no set costs for installation but would go as per custom requirements.
Text by Neerja Kapadia