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Decorating walls: from the Stone Age to the Digital Era

For centuries the human being has had the need to decorate the walls of his living space; either to keep a record of the day to day or for making it functional.

For centuries the human being has had the need to decorate the walls of his living space; either to keep a record of the day to day or for making it functional and attractive by putting things on it or around it.

The earliest known wall art was found in the Lescaux caves in France, with over 600 drawings and 500 engravings within the caves that depict the world around the people who created the images; dated to approximately 17,000 years ago.

Ancient Egypt wall art decoration was exclusively for the pharaoh, aristocracy, religious buildings, and tombs. Even though papyrus was available to record events, the walls were their main way to record important events and information related to religious practices and history. Tombs were often decorated with scenes from everyday life to ensure continuity in the afterlife.

The Roman aristocracy decorated their walls with mosaics or sometimes very large fresco painted murals with family portraits, important persons and pictures of the gods or illustrations of myths.

From the 5th to the 16th century in cold weather areas the wealthy often used expensive elaborate woven fabrics to cover tables, doorways, walls and windows. This tapestries served with a dual purpose: decorative and also acting as insulation.

In order to find a more accessible alternative for the less-wealthy members of the elite, that could not afford the high costs of wall hanging fabrics, printers produced decorative paper panels; It was during this time that wallpaper was developed as an reasonable alternative to textiles.

From the 17th to the 18th century flocked wallpaper became very popular. During the reign of Queen Anne of England, the use of wallpaper became so popular, that it inspired the introduction of a tax on paper that was “painted, printed or stained to serve as hangings”.


From the 17th to 18th century wallpaper was not considered a permanent fixture that remained in the house, it was regarded like furniture that could be moved around and rearranged easily. The wallpaper was attached to the wall with tacks or removable glue. This allowed the paper to be rolled up and taken to the next house when the occupants moved.

The 19th century printing technology improvements replaced the labor of individual workers dipping and pressing woodblocks on the rolls of paper to create the design; opening the possibilities of create more complex designs at more affordable price.

The advances in technology of the 21th century brought a wider choice of materials (washable, long lasting, pre-pasted, and more), so companies were able to reproduce any style of any period and in an affordable price.



The objects or materials with which we cover the walls that surround us go together with several purposes that range from: keeping a record of the day to day, creating an pleasing surrounding, weather insulation, as sound barriers or more complex like a billboard in which we can transmit a message (educational or promotional).


Wall made with ACP (Aluminum Composite Panel) printed tiles. FESPA Berlin 2018.


Planter wrapped with PVC vinyl, an artistic touch for a traditional object. FESPA Berlin 2018.


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