A majestic ﬂock of Cranes takes ﬂight in Shanghai, China: from the walls the new ‘de Gournay’ showroom to be more exact. Art Deco brilliance ‘Namban,’ and East-Asian inspired hand-painted wallpaper set the exotic tone. This interior was custom-designed for British Chinoiserie wallpaper specialists de Gournay by the Italian interior specialist The Interior’s House.
This is all about Chinoiserie: wallpaper rich and deeply intertwined with Chinese culture and its inﬂuence on European style. They were introduced to the world in the 1700s via the new sea trade route between Europe and China, which would go on to replace the Silk Road.
Claud Cecil Gurney, the founder of de Gournay, established his company in 1984 after touring factories in China. “After the rise of Communism, they had all these factories where people were painting little birds and bees and butterﬂies. They had at least one hundred people painting these pictures to export. It could take 15 years to train an artist in China, and traditionally they spend eight to ten years copying someone else’s work before they could do their own,” he said reﬂecting on the start of his adventure.
“The traditional place we come from is pen-and-ink drawing on silk by hand, which is what has been happening in China for thousands of years,” says Gurney. “And people still want that today, it gives ‘spirit-resonance’: A deep and lasting impression of the artist who painted them.”
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