Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

2010

  • Work on this object began.

2015

2016

2019

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Sidewall, Rombico, 2010

This is a Sidewall. It was manufactured by Osborne and Little. It is dated 2010. Its medium is holographic foil on non-woven ground, laser engraved.

Gift of one full roll of the Rombico pattern, a holographic foil on paper. The pattern is formatted in a diamond-trellis design, a traditional wallpaper pattern, but that’s where all tradition stops. Unlike the highly reflective Mylar foil wallpapers which give a straight reflection, Rombico reflects more in the manner of a convex mirror. Given the diamond trellis formatting, it casts 100’s of reflections across the paper’s surface, and is more akin to the reflections of Thousand eye or Thumbprint pressed glass from the late nineteenth century than a traditional looking glass.

Osborne & Little is a British manufacturer and retailer of upmarket wallpaper and fabrics with showrooms worldwide. It was established in 1968 by Sir Peter Osborne and his brother-in-law, Antony Little, in the King's Road, Chelsea, section of London.

Reflective wallcoverings have a long history, from applied gold leaf and printed metallic pigments in the eighteenth century, to stamped foil designs in the mid-nineteenth century, to aluminum and Mylar foils in the twentieth century. Developments in lighting, as well as printing techniques, have lead to the evolution of this class of wallcoverings.

The use of aluminum foil as a wallpaper ground dates back to the late 1920s. An early classic example is the “Nicotene” wallpaper designed by Donald Deskey for Radio City Music Hall. Mylar was a polyester film developed by Dupont in 1952, and by the late 1960s it had become popular as a wallpaper ground. Mylar wallcoverings remained fashionable into the 1970s and have made a resurgence in recent years.

This fun and clever design would be an asset to the museum's group of reflective wallcoverings, as well as the more general group of contemporary British design.

This object was donated by Osborne & Little. It is credited Courtesy of Osborne & Little.

Its dimensions are

L x W: 1005.8 × 53.3 cm (33 ft. × 21 in.)

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Thom Browne Selects.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/420573455/ |title=Sidewall, Rombico, 2010 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=15 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>