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Sidewall, Pause

This is a Sidewall. It was designed by 2x4 and manufactured by Knoll Textiles. It is dated 2004 and we acquired it in 2006. Its medium is screen-printed vinyl. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Pause (2004) is from 2x4’s Chatter collection of wallcoverings produced by KnollTextiles. With its pattern of repeating large-scale commas and periods, Pause plays with elements of typography. Typography has been used as a motif in wallpaper design since the 1920s, reaching its peak in the 1960s. Earlier examples tend to involve more words and phrases, while designs from the 1960s begin featuring typographic characters as motifs. Typography was used much earlier on children’s papers, but served an educational rather than decorative purpose. French artist Jean Lurçat inserted Dada messages into some of his wallpaper designs in the 1920s. The most well-known example of type used as a motif on wallpaper is the design by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller in 1953. While the use of typography as a decorative element has been around for a while, this design shows it being used in a unique way and helps demonstrate the evolution of type as a motif. Although Pause plays with elements of typography, it does so with characters rarely highlighted in wallcoverings.
2x4, a design firm based in New York, works across practically all graphic media. Their interior and signage design was included in the 2003 National Design Triennial, and they were finalists in the 2005 and 2006 National Design Awards in the category of Communications Design. Some of the firm’s clients include Prada New York, Vitra, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Brooklyn Museum, and The Studio Museum of Harlem.
2x4 follows a long history of artists and designers being commissioned to put their work, usually a signature piece or style, into a repeating pattern. This is reflected in the large group of wallcoverings created by artists, designers, and architects already in the museum’s collection. In addition to the papers by Girard for Herman Miller, we also have several examples in the collection of large-scale type overlapping in a seemingly random pattern used on murals in the late 1960s, as well as examples by German artist Cuno Fischer in 1959 that combine illustration with typography.

This object was donated by Knoll Textiles. It is credited Gift of Knoll Textiles.

  • Textile, Abacus
  • linen.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Mrs. William Goulding.
  • 2003-7-1
  • Poster, Divisumma
  • offset lithograph on white wove paper.
  • Museum purchase through gift of James A. Lapides and from General....
  • 2009-1-1

Our curators have highlighted 11 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Sidewall, Drop
  • screen-printed on vinyl, polyester backing.
  • Gift of Knoll Textiles.
  • 2011-40-7

Its dimensions are

Overall: 298.5 x 137.2 cm (9 ft. 9 1/2 in. x 54 in.)

Cite this object as

Sidewall, Pause; Designed by 2x4 (United States); Manufactured by Knoll Textiles (United States); USA; screen-printed vinyl; Overall: 298.5 x 137.2 cm (9 ft. 9 1/2 in. x 54 in.); Gift of Knoll Textiles; 2006-25-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18705679/ |title=Sidewall, Pause |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=7 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>