A new offering--light--from Long Island City, New York Wall Covering Company Wolf-Gordon (wolf-gordon.com) might just prove yes. The winning entry in the company's Surface over Structure design competition for architecture students at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design (GSD), Light was the darling of the 2006 interior shows earning a Best of NeoCon Innovation Award and an Editor's Choice Award for New Designer at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF).
Designed by GSD students, Corinne Ulmann and Isamu Kandu, the pattern was inspired by light and shadows Ulmann observed on her living room wall and filtering through a shower curtain. Although a very large repeat--52 inches by 24 inches--the pattern captures the everyday phenomenon of light playing on a wall surface with impressive reality. "There are all these architects who come out of school who don't have a lot of practical knowledge of interior finish materials," explains Wolf-Gordon's design director Kari Pei, as the company's motivation to reach out to architecture students. "This competition introduced the idea that wall covering isn't just decorative, it can be a tool to construct and define space."
So subtle is the pattern, most people do not realize they are not actually observing real light and shadow. "We had people coming up to the booth at ICFF in this giant, windowless room, convinced that there was a window nearby," remembers Pei. "It is just so psychologically uplifting. You think you are in a space with light even if you are not...it's very powerful."