Sunday, April 08, 2007

Seeing Stripes




I was very excited to read the other day that Scalamandre has reissued the "Zebra" wallpaper as part of its Cabinet de Curiosites line. "Zebra" was first designed for the legendary New York restaurant Gino's in the 1940s. The original owner, Gino Circiello, had been friends with the Scalamandre family, and when he opened his restaurant he asked them to design a wallpaper that had a big game hunting motif. What they came up with was a magnificent design of running zebras being chased by arrows, all set against a red background.

I first learned about the famous wallpaper about ten years ago. In fact, I decided to dine there just to see the wallpaper, which looks even better in person. I had been told that while the restaurant was still in business that Scalamandre would not reproduce this pattern. It seems however that that may not have been an accurate story. According to some recent articles, Scalamandre employees discovered the lost printing screen during their move from their Long Island City factory, so they decided to include this print in their new collection.

The new "Zebra" is slightly different from the original in two ways. First, the new zebras no longer look like hunted prey (they seem to prance rather than run). Secondly, the original design was charming in that one of the zebras was missing a stripe from his hind end, and the new pattern has reintroduced the missing stripe. The new "Zebra" comes in many colorways, although the red one is still my favorite. Kate Spade used a bright green version of the print in her guest bathroom. Also, I believe the red version was used on the set of the movie "The Royal Tenenbaums". What I like most about the design, though, is that is whimsical without being kitschy, and that it represents a little piece of New York history!




Photo of Gino's, courtesy of New York Times


Photo of Kate Spade's Guest Bathroom, courtesy of World of Interiors

Photo at top of "Zebra" print, courtesy of New York Times

16 comments:

  1. Love this! Especially the red. Great post.

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  2. Oh my gosh, I just ripped this out of H&G on Saturday and thought to myself "is this from the Tennenbaums?" "Where can I possibly use it?" and "I wonder if it comes in green?" Thanks for answering all three of the questions I had in my head! It's an incredible paper.

    Becky

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  3. Becky, That's so funny! Don't you love this print??? If you're ever in New York you should go check the restaurant out- the food is pretty good too!

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  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new header! Great job!

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  5. Thanks Fairfax! I'm muddling my way through this- and about to pull my hair out! Thanks for the encouragement.

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  6. OMG great post, I am so happy to hear the background, I once had a client take me to that restaurant JUST to see the paper, but I didn't know the back story, so thanks again for a stellar post!

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  7. The new site looks great!

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  8. Thanks Sarah! I'm confused on how to do all of this!

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  9. Anonymous11:31 AM

    Anyone know where I can find this, if it is actually out yet?

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  10. Anonymous- I'm not sure if it's already out, or if the line "Cabinet de Curiosites" will debut soon. There are many Scalamandre showrooms around the country; perhaps you could call one of them and find out? Better yet, let me see if I can find out and I'll report back.

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  11. Anonymous12:48 PM

    does anyone know whether Scalamandre made this pattern in Fabric, not just wallpaper?

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  12. Anon- I'm almost positive that it only comes in a wallpaper.

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  13. Anonymous5:28 PM

    This wallpaper can also be seen in the Swedish file "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest"

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  14. Anonymous8:58 AM

    LOVE this wallpaper. It is now (years later) available as a fabric...

    http://www.passementeries.com/scalamandre/wallpaper/zebras.htm

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