When I last took a walk in one of my favourite Munich neighbourhoods, Lehel, I spotted it: a birch grove in a hairdressing salon! This was clearly the work of a wallpaper fan - or perhaps a professional interior designer? When I enter the shop, it soon becomes clear that the boss himself is the one with the passion for wallpaper and interior design. The attention to detail, to the “look” as a whole, is very apparent.
The furnishings reflect the theme of the wallpaper - birches do not only adorn the walls, they are also present in the shape of shelves and the beautiful birchwood counter. And as if that wasn't enough: at the SOLO, you cannot only enjoy being beautified amongst the birches: you will experience your own metamorphosis surrounded by exotic butterflies. But who is the creative head behind this wonderland, and what stories can he tell us about his wallpapers? During an interview with the owner, hairstylist William E. Feliciano, we find out more about his love of wallpapers and interior design.
Mr. Feliciano, why did you choose a wallpaper with trees for this particular room?
I had a striped wallpaper in my last salon. And it really opened the space. When I first saw my new premises, I immediately knew that I wanted another stripey theme. In fact, I'd had my eye on the tree design for a while by then. It seemed obvious that it would work really well in the new salon. The blackness of the trees moves into the background, whilst the white emerges into the room - just like black-and-white stripes would do. Of course, this creates the optical illusion of a much bigger space. To fit in with the wallpaper, I had the shelves and counter crafted from birchwood, to tie everything in with the forest theme. The lamp fashioned from a large tubular frame is another idea that was realised especially for the room.
What do your customers think of the wallpaper?
There was a lot more reaction to begin with, now it's less of a topic as most of my clients know the wallpaper already - it's been part of the salon for 5 years. But the tree paper has definitely become a trademark for us, it's got a high recognition factor, it's quite distinctive. When people pass the salon, they recognise the wallpaper and are reminded of the shop and what we do. I've also noticed that many architects and designers recognise the wallpaper, and it has a certain appeal for them. As it is placed in the entrance area and has this strong recognition factor I mentioned, it's also become the backdrop to our website and our staff pictures.
Why did you choose the butterfly wallpaper in the upper part of the salon?
The butterfly wallpaper is relatively new. I had grey wallpaper with a wood structure before, and I simply felt that it was a bit too boring. At first I went on a bit of a quest to find a floral wallpaper, or one with a vintage look. Then I discovered this butterfly motif with the pale blue background. It also had that vintage character I had been looking for, like something from the 19th century. The colour scheme makes it very friendly and inviting, which was important to me.
What were your sources of inspiration when you were furnishing the salon?
I think it is mainly based on the actual room, you need to have a feeling for your surroundings. You can't just arrive with a ready concept, you need to see the space, let it have its effect on you, and then make design decisions. You need to show the space some respect.
What is important for you in a room?
For me personally, wallpapers are important - they are less expensive than furniture but can change a room completely. It also means you can be more restrained with the furniture. Wallpapers simply give you the necessary tools to really “dress” a room. That, in my opinion, is a strong argument for the use of wallpapers.
Have you ever contemplated changing professions and becoming a full-time interior designer?
Yes, I've been asked that question before, but it's not that easy. It's one thing to choose a style according to my own taste; it's totally different if I am given parameters by a client. I think an interior designer is better equipped to do that. I adore designing interiors and I enjoy evoking emotions or reflecting the personality of the person who lives in or with a space.
Do you also have wallpapers in your own home?
Yes, but they are a little less “loud”. I have a structural wallpaper which used to be pink, i.e. very loud, but I have painted it black. I really like painting over a wallpaper, as it creates a complete new and interesting visual appeal.
Are you already planning another wallpaper project?
I think I'd like to try a washable wallpaper in my kitchen or bathroom in the near future.