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Exploring hand drawn aesthetics

Exploring hand drawn aesthetics


Image above, custom wallpaper by de Gournay Rateau design. Photo by Natalie Dinham.

Scratchy hard-edged lines through to soft delicate hand painting – there’s something to be said of the character that is imparted from a hand-drawn artefact. Even in architecture, the softness imbued in a hand-drawn architectural render doesn’t seem to translate when produced digitally. And, as an aesthetic, there are several products that have been inspired by the fluid, free-form characteristics of hand-drawings.

We take a look at some of the products and spaces that have been developed around the raw, imperfect nature of hand-drawing.

The artisan

De Gournay is an artisanal wallpaper company that also produces porcelain and textiles. Taking the art and knowledge of 18th century hand-painted Chinese wallpapers, it creates unique ‘works of art’ for the wall. All individually customised and tailored for each client, the wallpapers are a process of collaboration and refinement. The handmade and hand-painted nature of them integral to the product itself.

Incredibly detailed patterns reign supreme; think florals, elaborate birds and classic Chinoiserie prints. Anyone with a minimalist slant would struggle with the opulence of de Gournay. But there is no denying that the delicate, hand-drawn nature of the wallpaper adds a certain joie de vivre.


The distilled

Taking inspiration from the imperfections made by brushstrokes and lines, the Brush Works collection by Shaw Contract distills the hand sketched aesthetic into a range of carpet tiles. Rather than defaulting to digital drawings, the design team at Shaw Contract explored fluid brushstrokes, paying particular attention the inconsistencies that arise when working by hand.


Shaw Contract’s motion tile.

The range includes three different designs, which range in scale. Starting at the pencil-sized end Delicate emphasises the texture of the brush. Stepping up to the freedom of a paint brush Dynamic, as the name suggests incorporates a free-flowing nature. Finally, taken from a hard and straight brush, Motion deconstructs the linear form.


Shaw Contract’s Brush Works in delicate.

The literal

As part of last year’s Milan Furniture Fair, Dutch designers Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk displayed their furniture range Protopunk, which literally looks like a drawing made 3-dimensional.

Part of a larger exhibit titled ‘Physical’, the pair showed a mix of furniture items in the range including tables, chairs, a sideboard, a clock and even a chess set.


Each piece was made out of black sheet metal, cut out with a blowtorch and welded together. The white ‘chalk’ like edging was then made by adding white paint across the joins. The roughness of the edges gives a raw and unfinished look, making the furniture look hand-sketched. The inversion of the white edges on black gives the collection a cartoonish appearance.


Taking the notion of hand drawn in a literal way was the Protopunk exhibition at the 2016 Milan iSalone.


Shaw Contract is a content partner of ADR.


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