It’s true, the whole concept does sound a little bit risqué. But that is the point. After all, the name suggests a specific milieu. That alone, however, wasn’t the whole reason for the moniker of this striking “genre” of wallpapers. It’s the combination that makes it: an époque meets a milieu meets a lifestyle, and they all amalgamate to form an inimitable style - a unique and eccentric world that invites us to lose ourselves within. We are, of course, referring to so-called Bordello Chic.
Just like it was with the Pin-Up Girls of old, the “Bordello” theme is firmly based on innuendo. It’s not about putting everything on show - only as much as is necessary to tickle our imagination: a touch of eroticism, a smidgeon of mysterious seduction, and a soupcon of dandified glamour. Bordello Chic plays with suggestiveness, adventure and the prospect that there might be something exciting behind the curtain. There might. For whether or not there really is anything there is literally left in the dark.
There is more to it than the eye can see. In fact, it’s all about creating a certain atmosphere, a mood, an emotion - in a manner of speaking, it is about the immaterial value of a material style.
Warm colours and matt surfaces, draped in red light, a slightly gloomy atmosphere, soft furnishings, velvet and silk, flowery flock wallpapers, heavy carpets and curtains, dimmed lamplight, the odd kitschy accessory, and perhaps an intricate chandelier. A perfect coulisse - or a comfortable living area.
A huge part of a room’s comfort factor is provided by the material consistency of wallpapers. Flock, non-woven wallpapers or velour wallpapers aren’t just two-dimensional, they also boast textile surfaces, and with them a haptic, tactile experience. Like a delicate relief, they slightly protrude into the room, not just attracting the eye but the sense of touch, too. More than any other type of wallpaper, they inspire the beholder to touch and feel them.
Regardless whether the rooms are publicly accessible or private, these types of wall decor leave an indelible mark on visitors’ memories. The Bordello style is suitable for a large variety of environments: bars, foyers, hotel rooms, or personal bedrooms and living spaces. Places of relaxation, of well-being, with an air of intimacy and familiarity. In times of increasing global complexities and uncertainties, areas of retreat and respite play an ever-growing role. They can - but don’t necessarily have to - be within one’s own four walls.
The buzzword here is “amusement” - a term that might perhaps sound slightly antiquated in this day and age. Nonetheless, it also reflects a very contemporary and topical phenomenon: the need for fun without consequences, and for a way of passing time without responsibility or demands. Lean back, tune out, put your feet up and forget about work. Just BE - and feel comfortable doing so.
Fans of Bauhaus and Minimalism might not be too enamoured with this style; after all, Bordello is a nod to the ostentatious opulence of the Rococo era and incorporates elements of Victorian times. But even the most dyed-in-the-wool purist needs to take a break sometimes - for instance in a bar of ill repute, exotic cocktail in hand.