I l o v e paper. Maybe it’s a default setting for a graphic designer, but my love goes wayyy back: from paper, envelopes and stamps – as a child I wanted to become a post office employee – I moved on to larger drawing sheets in art school, onto wallpaper when I started working in home & living. And it turns out I CAN paper a wall, I am quite handy in handling long sticky rolls of decorated paper and ladders, actually.
So, when in Ghent, I visit Priem.
Priem is a wallpaper paradise, a family business, established in 1924. Ghent used to be a centre of local paper industry, but times have changed. Many wallpaper shops disappeared, but not Priem, nor the family.
They have over 12.000 types of paper in the shop and are a resource for set dressers from all over Europe, and even a decorator for the White House has browsed their books.
A true paper emporium, but without the branding, no electronic payment methods, nor a webshop. No need for electronic speed, as word of mouth results in more traffic than the two sisters and brother can handle already.
Lilian confessed to a local reporter to be 74 last year. Marie-Hélène doesn’t want her age in the papers and Ivan wasn’t asked. (article in Dutch)
They have home-made designs as well as other quirky papers, and their choice of designs is rather perky. They feel a wall should be papered and not painted. Painted walls remind them of the (Second World) War, a crisis. Without wallpaper.