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Sidewall, PHE-02

This is a sidewall. It was designed by Piet Hein Eek and manufactured by NLXL. It is dated 2011 and we acquired it in 2013. Its medium is digital print on paper. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Created by the Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, the patterns of the Scrapwood collection of wallpapers copies the surfaces he creates on his handmade furniture made of found wood. The Scrapwood collection is digitally printed and perfectly captures the grain and texture of the found wood surfaces. It is nearly impossible to distinguish the printing from actual wood.
These designs are a unique take on faux bois papers, which historically have copied rare and exotic woods. Antique papers were also frequently embellished with simulated gilt bronze mounts or elaborately carved or decorated woods. In the 20th century, wallpapers began copying more familiar woods such as oak, walnut, and pine. These were usually produced as a cheaper alternative to decorating with actual wood. The Scrapwood collection of wallpapers reproduces discarded scraps of wood, complete with nail holes, paint, scrapes, and other visible signs of use and abuse. There is nothing fancy about the selection or arrangement of the pieces, but there is a beauty in the honesty of the scarred wood panels. There is a soothing quality in the obvious imperfections and repetition. The rolls are 30-feet long and do not repeat. No volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are used in the production of this wallpaper and the amount of waste produced in the manufacturing process has been reduced by more than 50% since the collection was first produced.
Eek created his first furniture made of scrap wood in 1990 as an exam project while studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands. He established his own studio in 1992 and built his business around the reuse of old materials. He preferred the look of old wood to new wood. Eek’s creation of the Scrapwood furniture range was a reaction against the consumer demand for flawless, mass-produced furniture. Eek wanted to show that objects created with obvious imperfections could be both attractive and functional. He did this by reversing modern production methods; he began by using discarded, abundant materials and simple production methods, and invested as much labor as possible into the creative process to make unique pieces of furniture. To Eek, discarded, scarred wood has its own inherent beauty and his wallpapers build on this aesthetic by simply putting planks to paper.
Eek’s work is sold in numerous galleries worldwide. He has exhibited at such venues as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Milan Furniture Fair in Italy, and Cibone, a design store in Tokyo, Japan.
Wallcoverings have always imitated other materials and the museum has a large collection of trompe l’oeil and faux finish papers, including textile, stone, architectural moldings, passementerie and, of course, wood or faux bois. The very earliest wallcovering in the collection is a block printed and flocked textile that imitates a more expensive textile. The collection contains faux bois papers dating back to about 1800 and is inclusive of most production methods used over the past 250 years, including hand painting, wood-block printing, lithography, machine printing, and screenprinting. The collection also contains self-adhesive vinyl papers that imitate wood. The proposed gift of three different Scrapwood wallpaper designs would fit beautifully in this group by embellishing the existing collection with examples that are contemporary both in their production and their aesthetic. It would also strengthen ties across departments by adding designs by a contemporary furniture maker.

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

Its dimensions are

L x W: 900 x 45 cm (29 ft. 6 5/16 in. x 17 11/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Sidewall, PHE-02; Designed by Piet Hein Eek (Dutch, b. 1967); Manufactured by NLXL; Netherlands; digital print on paper; L x W: 900 x 45 cm (29 ft. 6 5/16 in. x 17 11/16 in.); Gift of NLXL; 2013-4-3

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Sidewall, PHE-02 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 January 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>