WALLCOVERINGS ARE LIKE COMPLIMENTS—
when they come from the right source, it makes all the difference. Fortunately, ARTE’s collection
is devoid of filler and too-little-too-late sentiment: The Belgian company has been designing chic,
tactile statements from subtle to ecstatic for over 30 years.
Arte founder and president Jean-Pierre Desart and junior art director Frederik Decoopman
naturally see blank canvases everywhere, almost as routinely as the rest of us seek the weather
forecast. The wall is the first thing they notice when entering a room. “We believe a naked wall can
be completely transformed by a wallcovering into a beautiful asset in interior design,” Desart says.
Walls, ceilings, surrounds and every kind of surface area have been layered in Arte—from private residences to the Buddha-Bar in Paris, Kunlun Hotel in Beijing and the Palais Hansen Kempinski
Vienna. The company’s range plays with the notion of coverings and traditional papers. While
there are quieter patterns in the line—Memento is a classic, discreet character—most Arte books
offer bare landscapes a chance to be submerged in dimension. Camouflage is an extraordinary
design that lives the fascinating life of a double agent: a stylish moiré textile wallcovering dressed
in the subversive iridescence of now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t.
Arte is evocative with patterns. Their materials and methods are surprising, with unanticipated
pairings and finished pieces that owe most of their good looks to modern, highly specialized techniques. Desart, Decoopman and their team develop collections that feature materials as dramatic and disparate as embossed and embroidered fabrics, laser techniques, perforation, pleated
paper and fabrics, metallic foils, 3D-printing, Abaca fibers, stones and glass beads. While digital
wallpapers have saturated the marketplace of late—everything from the homemade to the cus-tomizable—Desart believes craftsmanship and vision are worth a distinction. “Our wallcoverings
are mostly made from natural products, they contain unique elements and base materials,” he
says. “They express warmth and elegant luxury to an interior and are very tangible.”