Getting “Hygge” With the Wallpaper Wizards of Hygge & West
We had the pleasure of getting to know Aimee Lagos and Christiana Coop, two childhood friends with entrepreneurial spirit who went on a journey to start wallpaper company Hygge & West. Since their launch in 2008, Hygge & West has become a go-to destination for funky and stylish wallpaper patterns, collaborating with other artisans including Justina Blakeny, Rifle Paper Co., and Askov Finlayson to name a few. Here, Aimee and Christiana shed some light on their creative process, exciting collaborations, and tips on best practices for choosing the right wallpaper.
Photography courtesy of Hygge & West
Aimee and Christiana (the lovely founders of Hygge & West) are childhood BFFs – how did you end up designing wallpaper?
We were both looking to change careers. Christiana was practicing law and wanting to get her feet into the interior design world. Aimee had previous experience with starting a small business and was looking for a similar entrepreneurial challenge. So, we started throwing ideas out into the world and eventually one landed on becoming the North American distributor for Ferm Living, which had recently launched in Denmark. After about a year of that, we realized we wanted to do something more creative. Around that same time, we had just collaborated with Julia Rothman on a custom wallpaper with a birds and clouds design and really wanted to make that pattern accessible to more people since we both loved it. That’s where the idea to start our own wallpaper line came from. Six months later, we launched Hygge & West with a collection designed by Julia, including the pattern with birds and clouds – Daydream!
Hygge & West is based on the Danish concept “hygge”, meaning all things cozy. What do you feel is “hygge” about Hygge & West designs?
Part of “hygge” is to be personally content and happy. While the aesthetic of each collection we create varies, we think that all our patterns add happiness into interiors. And, we provide a range of patterns that should speak to many types of personalities.
Your wallpaper is handmade and screen printed locally in the U.S. – how does the wallpaper creation process work exactly from inspiration to print?
It varies for each design, but typically, we’ll start with an image or inspiration, and then start translating it from it’s original medium into wallpaper. Sometimes, this can be tricky – not every piece of art or pattern will work on a wall, which we’ve learned over the years! Once we figure out the right pattern and scale, the art has to be re-created for hand screen printing – all of the colors are separated out into separate layers. We usually work on colorways once we have the design finalized. We always try to offer a good spectrum of options from neutral to bold, while also maintaining a cohesiveness colorwise through the entire collection.
Tell us about your latest collection “Askov Finlayson”, what was the inspiration behind the design?
We’re always looking to work with people who have a strong aesthetic and who we find inspiring, and Askov Finlayson fit the bill on both points. We approached the well-regarded menswear brand and boutique to work on a collection that would capture their northern sensibility, and we think that the end result is really fantastic. The Askov Finlayson team had very specific inspiration for us to start from, based on memories of their youth in Minnesota, and we feel like we were able to create designs that both honored the inspiration, and, put a modern and universal twist on it.
Which wallpaper colors and styles are your best-sellers?
At the moment, our most popular patterns are Nana and Aja (designed by Justina Blakeney), Otomi (designed by Emily Isabella), Pineapples and Peonies (designed by Rifle Paper Co.) and what we now think of as our classics, Petal Pusher (by Oh Joy) and Daydream (by Julia Rothman).
You offer wallpaper removable tiles as well – why would someone choose to use removable tiles over wallpaper?
We offer wallpaper removable tiles mostly for renters. Since lots of landlords don’t allow for permanent wallpaper, the tiles are a great option that’s easy to remove and won’t damage the wall. They are also the perfect solution for people looking to cover small areas or do smaller projects that don’t require an entire roll of wallpaper.
What are 3 tips of “best practices” to offer interior designers for choosing the right wallpaper and making the most out of wallpaper when decorating a space?
1. Use wallpaper to enhance the features of a room (e.g. make a tall room feel taller with a vertical pattern; make a small, cozy room feel even more so with a darker pattern).
2. Choose a pattern that the client really loves and that reflects their personality, rather than what is or isn’t “on trend”.
3. Look beyond the walls. We’ve seen wallpaper used in lots of creative ways to bring extra pattern into people’s spaces – the ceiling, lining sides of drawers, back of cupboards, etc.
You have quite the roster of designer collaborations – how does your team connect with designers that you feel will embrace the Hygge & West mentality?
It totally varies. We reach out to people whose work we love and we’ve been lucky enough to get approached by some really talented designers as well. Sometimes it’s just a matter of seeing a pattern and saying, “Yes, that’s exactly what we want to make.” Other times, we fall in love with a certain designer’s style, and send them inspiration so we can create a pattern together.
We’re particularly obsessed with your collaboration with Justina Blakeney (#jungalowstyle). The tropical vibes simply make us smile – how do your customers typically use colors/patterns like these in both residential and commercial projects?
We love it too! 🙂 It’s funny because the range in application of her patterns has totally varied. Some customers use this collection to create a similar boho vibe to Justina’s own “jungalow” style. But we’ve also seen it used in very modern, minimal spaces, as well as more traditional spaces, and they all look great. We’ve seen it in lots of bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms – her collection is truly versatile, more versatile than what we initially envisioned.
What are some spaces you know of using Hygge & West wallpaper that you are particularly proud of?
Oh wow, that’s a good question! It truly makes us so happy to see our wallpaper in anyone’s home. When we get tagged on Instagram, or when a customer sends us photos with positive feedback, that’s always the highlight of our day. We always do feel a sense of pride (and excitement) when we go to see it in public spaces – Diamante (Gold) in the library at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC, Nethercote (Gray) at Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, Pineapple (Ebony) at Wrecking Ball Coffee in SF and Buck’s in Chicago, Peonies (Pale Blue) at Scout Coffee in San Luis Obispo, Nana (Pink) at Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz. Hmmmm, coffee and wallpaper is really the best combo! We also know about a couple hotels using our wallpapers in their upcoming plans and you can believe we’ll be going to stay there ASAP!
Based on your knowledge of the industry, what trends are you forecasting for 2017 in regards to wallpaper style, pattern, and color?
We’re seeing wallpaper used more and more in entire rooms, not just accent walls. And, more people seem to be moving away from minimal decor to decor that really does reflect their personality and sense of place. We think we’ll be seeing more bold and bright applications in 2017 as people become more used to lots of pattern in their spaces.
What’s next for Hygge & West?
We’re in the process of expanding into some new product categories, which we are really excited about – look for them to start launching later this year. We’ve also got a full slate of really amazing wallpaper collections coming out in 2017 as well. And, we just started working on a book to launch Fall 2018!
Check out how Hygge & West makes wallpaper here: http://www.hyggeandwest.com/pages/our-story