Mindthegap Wallpaper: The Guide
One of the most innovative brands in the wallpaper industry, Mindthegap managed to emerge from its humble origins in rural Transylvania to become a powerful force with a worldwide impact. Focusing on bright, bold patterns inspired by the tradition of its homeland but always keen to explore other cultures and visual aesthetics, the vast range of motifs is testament to the diversity of Mindthegap’s imagination. Mindthegap covers a variety of wall décor styles, from hand-drawing to wood printing to collages that mix vintage and contemporary photographs to create motifs in rich and saturated colours.
Table of Contents
- Who is Stefan Ormenișan, founder and creative director of Mindthegap?
- What are the origins of the Mindthegap brand?
- What is the design philosophy behind Mindthegap wall décor?
- Which Mindthegap patterns are considered the most iconic?
- What are the ecological credentials of Mindthegap wallpapers?
- Is it easy to install a Mindthegap wallpaper?
The charismatic founder of Mindthegap is a fascinating figure whose unconventional journey from the tiny Romanian hamlet of Târgu Mureș to a world-renowned designer brand took a few unexpected turns.
A troublesome youth
Stefan Ormenișan defines himself as a self-taught person who did not attend a specialised school to become a successful designer and did not follow any traditional business patterns. Expelled at age 13 from Art School, he ran away from home, dreaming to reach South America and start a new life there. He only made it to the Romanian port of Constanța before being sent back home.
Starting a career as reporter
Once he finished high school at the age of 16, Stefan started working as a local reporter and editor during the summer holidays. Thinking he had found his career path, he enrolled in journalism school and worked for several years for both national and local publications before realising that Romania didn’t offer him the necessary opportunities to fulfil this dream.
Moving into the decoration business in native Romania
Wanting to prove himself, Stefan took a €50.000 loan and, together with his associated partner Victor Șerban, entered the wallpaper business in 2006. Production first took place in his parents’ garage and revolutionised the wallpaper industry in Romania, initially encountering many hurdles as the local market was almost non-existent.
Founded in 2009, the Mindthegap brand is a success story against all odds, thanks to the will and determination to persevere and adapt to the changing conditions of the market, embracing internationalisation without ever reneging on their Transylvanian origins.
Born into a relatively poor country with a small market for wallpapers, from the onset Mindthegap focussed on opening up to international markets, producing wall art for European brands with a focus on the private-label market in England. However, this has never meant denying their Transylvanian roots, an immense source of pride and inspiration behind both their motifs and their passion for craftsmanship.
Great Britain’s decision to opt for Brexit in 2016 and therefore exiting the European Single Market was the catalyst for change for the brand. Due to its prominence in the UK market, the prospect of an upcoming onslaught of tariffs on imports and exports for the company’s main clients forced Mindthegap to pivot and establish itself as an independent design brand, expanding its market reach to what is now over 70 countries across six continents.
The idea behind the name
It started as a simple association between the acronym GAP (as the company behind the brand is called Global Art Production) and the iconic London Subway warning “MIND THE GAP”. The name was chosen because it was easy to remember and international, but also because it refers to "thinking outside the box", a concept which the brand business philosophy was built upon.
Despite being an international company with a global outlook, the core philosophy driving the company is deeply rooted in the traditions and history of its native homeland.
A melting pot of crafts and traditions
Transylvania, known in the wider world for its associations with the legend of Dracula, is a fascinating and unique place which was once an independent country. A great melting pot of peoples, cultures and religions, it’s a rich tapestry of heritages from German Saxons, Hungarians, and Armenian Ashkenazi jews, amongst others, each contributing and adding to its unique cultural flavour.
A touch of vintage Bohemian lifestyle
Coming from a hodgepodge of cultures, languages and traditions, it is not surprising that Mindthegap approach to wallpaper design exudes a sense of an unconventional Boho lifestyle with a touch of vintage. The Mindthegap aesthetic is unafraid to pay homage to cultural heritage from all over the globe, a reflection of the hugely varied melting pot nature of Transylvania.
A passion for craftsmanship
Taking inspiration from the finely crafted embroidered textiles that adorned the countryside homes of Transylvania, Mindthegap pays a great deal of respect to traditional design methods, hand-drawing, hand-painting, dyeing, block-printing all motifs before digitalising them and transposing them onto fabrics. Each single pattern is built from scratch, going through countless iterations before it is committed to print.
In its relatively short lifespan so far, Mindthegap has produced a varied and multi-faceted set of wallpapers. Each year a new collection with a different theme is added. The most iconic motifs the brand is famous for are its oriental and tropical designs as well as those depicting animals and imitations of materials.
Tropical and botanical
The topic of nature is behind some of the most popular and celebrated wallpapers produced by Mindthegap over the last few years. Whether being inspired by the beautiful green mountains of Transylvania or exploring lush tropical paradises reminiscent of faraway lands, the immaculate drawings and attention to detail truly bring the outdoor inside.
Never shy to tap into its multicultural heritage, Mindthegap takes cues from visual traditions from all over the planet to find exotic and innovative design ideas for their wallpapers. Whether it’s the walls of a Persian mansion, India and its palaces, or an exploration of exquisite Chinese art, the brand manages to incorporate a plethora of exotic designs in its finely crafted wall décor.
Animals and fish
A recurrent theme across many of the Mindthegap collections is the presence of a variety of creatures from the animal world. From elegant cranes providing a sophisticated Eastern touch for walls, to cheeky baboons climbing palm trees in their native Barbados, to stylised fish that seem to come straight from an old Encyclopaedia, animals are an iconic part of the brand’s portfolio.
Imitation of materials
Some of the most fascinating Mindthegap designs are based on a stunningly realistic reproduction of materials, ranging from plaid backgrounds to windows panes. The material is sourced from old books, images from archives and from museums, often using the decoupage technique and going through several processes of recolouring, drawing and scanning to achieve the desired result.
Mindthegap’s ecological credentials are born out of the close relationship to nature prevailing in Transylvania, the brand’s homeland. Being surrounded by meadows and woodlands nurtured a deep love and respect for sustainability and ecology.
Sustainable materials, no plastic
Mindthegap takes great pride in sourcing the cellulose required to produce the non-woven material for their wallpapers only from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sustainable forestry. Surface materials consist exclusively of high-quality, recyclable natural fibres such as linen or cotton, and their products are packaged without using any plastic materials.
Creating ecologically sustainable wall coverings doesn’t stop at the choice of materials, as inks also need to be environmentally friendly to guarantee that the product can be safely recycled at the end of its life cycle. For this reason, Mindthegap uses only eco-friendly odourless, water-based inks and dyes that have been certified by Sweden’s Nordic Swan Environmental Standard as safe to dispose of.
Keeping the manufacturing process close to home
Keeping in line with Transylvania’s centuries-old tradition with regards to skilled craftsmanship and wanting to minimise the ecological footprint of their wallpapers, the brand’s founder took a decision early on to keep the manufacturing process in the homeland, rather than outsourcing abroad. This allows Mindthegap to maintain a sound ecological profile while at the same time being socially respectful and supporting their local community.
A new wallpaper should not require the efforts and expenses of commissioning a professional. Thankfully, all Mindthegap models can be put up very easily and without external help thanks to their non-woven substrate.
Easy to install, easy to remove
All wallpapers coming from the Mindthegap factory are produced using a robust layer of non-woven material designed for simple installation. This easy-to-handle material does not require being soaked in wallpapering paste; instead, it can be put up in a dry state by simply applying the adhesive directly to the wall. A further benefit is that each strip can be removed by simply pulling it off the wall once the time comes to change it.