de Gournay Debuts Redwoods by Alison Pickart


World-renowned wallpaper house de Gournay just unveiled a rustic, hand painted wallpaper—Redwoods—in collaboration with Bay Area designer Alison Pickart. This rustic translation of the California Redwoods introduces a fresh perspective of the majestic groves that surround her clients’ home, which served as the inspiration for the artistic endeavor. Curated specifically for an expansive, circular stairwell, Redwoods is available in four different colorways.

“Through’ spaces like this stairwell provide great opportunities for doing something really strong,” says Jemma Cave, de Gournay’s Design Director. “As you don’t have to be with it all day long, you can do something more fun in this kind of space – here, as you pass through, you can notice the change of light at different times of day and the feeling is very much like being deep within nature.”

We spoke with Pickart to get a deeper understanding behind the elegant mural and what makes it so very special.

Photos by Chris Andre

What defining moment with your client inspired the creation of Redwoods? We knew the staircase needed something spectacular, and because of its sheer volume, I felt that a tree of some sort would be appropriately stunning. I came to them with a gorgeous windswept cherry tree mural, which they absolutely loved. As we considered it, the husband actually mused out loud that the cherry tree reminded him of time spent in Japan, and wouldn’t it be more appropriate to choose a species that was native to California, like Redwoods? If ever there was an ‘ah-ha’ moment! 

Photos by Chris Andre

As we looked around the space, it became obvious that a Redwood forest could be the only choice. The Redwoods, it was decided, would give the space a foundation in its location, something that turned out to be especially important given that they had lived all over the world and were now going to call this space, in California, ‘home’.

What are your favorite details in the piece? The ground which the mural is painted on is metallic—a beautiful platinum tone which is softly reflective when the sunlight shines on it. This detail makes it appear as if the sunlight is actually ‘shining through’ the trees. I was adamant about the use of the metallic for the ground for this reason, thinking about walks through Muir Woods and how the light is so beautifully diffused through the trees. Seeing that affect in this real life installation is (I think) my favorite design aspect. It works super well in this particular space because the walls are curved, so the sunlight never hits a corner, it just travels around the forest as if it were real, it’s unreal!

Photos by Chris Andre

-How did you envision this design being used in other regions around the globe?  I can imagine all sorts of interior applications. Primarily all of which have grand ceiling heights to allow the mural the space to soar. Scenic murals have been around for centuries and have always created a tangible sense of place, an artistic documentation of travels or experiences. We have embraced these scenic murals in modern times, for their depictions of different geographies and cultures and celebrate the luxurious sense of wanderlust they make us feel. A classically painted and luxurious depiction of California scenic is long overdue. There is so much history in the California Coast and the Redwoods. They are iconic and recognized the world over for their soaring majesty as well as their true representation of America’s West Coast.

I can see this scenic mural representing that sense of place in residences, hotels and institutions all over the globe for exactly that reason. The magic and wonder of our coastal landscape. Speaking of institutions, I definitely think our California native VP could definitely use this mural in her new D.C. dining room to include a little historic documentation, and a nod to her home state. Wink, wink!

Photos by Chris Andre

Aside from the Redwood trees, what about this work evokes the feeling of California?  The stone floor is an antiqued travertine almost the exact color of the West Coast sand. I always associate the Redwoods with the coastal sands and rocky shore, and so it was important to show that contrast. The floor is set in a concentric design with a round keystone in the middle. I remember at one meeting having a wild idea to actually source a three dimensional rock to set in its place as the centerpiece of the room. My clients gracefully indulged my exploration of that idea but ultimately reminded me that perhaps the Redwoods were enough, lol!

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