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Object Timeline

2013

  • We acquired this object.

  • We photographed this object.

  • Work on this object began.

2015

2019

  • You found it!

Sidewall, Cosmo, 2013

This is a Sidewall. It was designed by Ryan Bell and Abigail Bell and manufactured by Anstey Wallpaper. It is dated 2013 and we acquired it in 2013. Its medium is flexograph-printed on paper. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Cosmo is a wallpaper designed by abigail*ryan, the young Belfast-based husband-and-wife design team of Abigail and Ryan Bell. The Bells have been designing textiles and home goods since 2009. Cosmo is from their first wallpaper collection, introduced in 2013.
abigail*ryan takes a hands-on approach to its designs. Both principals are very involved throughout the creative process. They begin by selecting and photographing flowers, which are then illustrated by hand with pen and ink. The scale of the flowers is manipulated to create a fine flow throughout the design. They select local suppliers to produce all of their designs, which allows for greater oversight and quality control while also supporting the local economy, ensuring fair labor practices, and reducing their carbon footprint.
The designers chose the flexographic printing process because it imparts a subtle texture and greater depth to the design. Flexographic printing is a machine process that uses rubber rollers, much like a rubber stamp or linoleum block in a roll. The flexography technique was developed in England in 1890, but was not used for the production of wallpaper until the 1960s.
The museum’s collection of wallcoverings is international, with the majority of its papers from France, England, Germany, and the United States. Although most countries manufacture wallpaper, papers are often produced to meet domestic demand rather than for export, which limits availability abroad. At the time of proposed acquisition, Cosmo would be the first wallpaper in the collection designed in Ireland.
Floral designs make up one of the largest categories in the wallcoverings collection and are represented across most styles, periods, and techniques—including embossed leathers, British Design Reform, Wiener Werkstätte, art nouveau, art deco, and pop art papers from the 1960 and 70s. The addition of this paper would help illustrate the evolution and design continuum of floral wallpaper. It would also contribute to the collection of papers by contemporary designers, which is a department priority.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled A Bold but Delicate Floral.

This object was donated by abigail*ryan. It is credited Gift of abigail*ryan.

Its dimensions are

L x W: 1000 x 52 cm (32 ft. 9 11/16 in. x 20 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Sidewall, Cosmo, 2013; Designed by Abigail Bell and Ryan Bell; England; flexograph-printed on paper; L x W: 1000 x 52 cm (32 ft. 9 11/16 in. x 20 1/2 in.); Gift of abigail*ryan; 2013-60-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/51689343/ |title=Sidewall, Cosmo, 2013 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>