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Object Timeline

2011

  • Work on this object began.

2012

2017

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Mural, Stamp World Map, 2011

This is a Mural. It was designed by Sir Paul Smith and manufactured by Maharam. It is dated 2011 and we acquired it in 2012. Its medium is digital print on cellulose, latex, nylon substrate. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

In 2010, Maharam launched the Digital Projects collection, a carefully selected group of digitally-printed wall installations. Created by emerging and established artists, photographers, and designers, these installations are contemporary renderings that follow in the tradition of scenic or panoramic wallpapers, with large-scale, non-repeating designs. The papers are produced with state-of-the-art digital printing and the designs move beyond the conventions of their predecessors. To reflect this change, Maharam refers to these prints as “projects” or “installations” rather than scenics or murals. Maharam Digital Projects are printed with UV-resistant water-based pigment inks on a latex-saturated washable substrate.
Stamp World Map, by British fashion designer Paul Smith, is a digital rendering of a world map in which the land masses are created by a collage of antique postage stamps over a field of canceled envelopes. The clever appliqué design reflects trends in Smith’s collection of accessories, including handbags, laptop cases, and wallets, for which he creates patterns using postage stamps. This is a unique take on map wallcoverings, which date back to the 1930s. Map wallcoverings have been a popular wall treatment since their introduction, and were especially recommended for dens and boy’s bedrooms. The typical map wallcovering illustrates a country, a continent or the world, usually in topographical format, with places of interest, legends, and historical events frequently highlighted. The beauty of Stamp World Map, however, lies in what it doesn’t show. It doesn’t show national boundaries, altitudes, or ocean currents. Delicately crafted like a handmade quilt, it hints of travel to foreign lands and the passion of collecting. It gives the viewer a peak into the adventures of others. It inspires wanderlust.
Smith started out in fashion retail, opening his first boutique in 1970. He began taking tailoring classes and showed his first menswear collection under the Paul Smith label in 1976, quickly establishing himself as one of Britain’s preeminent fashion designers. In 2000, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for having been a fashion icon for nearly 30 years.
While the museum holds a number of Maharam textiles, Stamp World Map, together with another Maharam digital project, Dutch Clouds, would be the first examples of Maharam wallcoverings to enter the collection. The addition of these papers will augment the museum’s collection of scenic and panoramic wallpapers, which dates back to the early 19th century. The museum holds a number of scenics designed and/or produced during this early period (which evolved into decors or fresco papers around 1850, in which heavy architectural borders were installed like frames around non-repeating scenes), and several more scenic papers designed and produced in the early to mid-20th century. Panoramic papers evolved with changes in technology and housing and, in the 20th century, were more popularly presented as murals. The museum owns murals by world-renowned artists, as well as photo murals and pop art murals from the early postwar period. The two Maharam installations would help bring this collection up to date. There are also a number of lithographed examples of map wallcoverings in the museum’s collection dating back to the 1930s or 40s. The pieces will also strengthen an existing group of wallcoverings designed by significant textile and fashion designers, including Paul Martine, Dorothy Liebes, Marion Dorn, Jhane Barnes, Mary McFadden, and Txell Miras.

This object was donated by Maharam. It is credited Gift of Maharam.

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 243.8 x 365.8 cm (8 x 12 ft.)

Cite this object as

Mural, Stamp World Map, 2011; Designed by Sir Paul Smith (English, b. 1946); USA; digital print on cellulose, latex, nylon substrate; H x W x D: 243.8 x 365.8 cm (8 x 12 ft.); Gift of Maharam; 2012-11-1-1/4

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18788189/ |title=Mural, Stamp World Map, 2011 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=11 December 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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