Writing's on the wall

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 August, 2011, 12:00am


If you want to change the look of your home a good place to start is the walls.

Unusual treatments are increasingly gaining popularity as a unique way of doing so, turning walls into works of art.

After a period where minimalism and clean lines were popular, more people want to introduce warmth and soul to their rooms, says interior architect Assia Bennani, of Marguerite & Gribouilli.

Bennani specialises in wall designs created as a one-off or limited series and sketched by hand.

'People want to integrate patterns, imagination and fantasy into interiors. The walls are no longer neglected because our living spaces are becoming smaller, especially in Hong Kong. People want to make the most of their walls as a space for self-expression,' she says.

'The first step is to define the colour, texture and finish you are after. Do you want warm, fresh, neutral or monochrome tones? Colours are closely linked to people's personalities and their cultural affiliation, the significance of colours varies from one culture to the next.

'Even so, I notice a great demand for neutral tones: greys, beiges, taupes. Most often clients ask for sober colours, but with a little touch of colour to spice things up.

'You also need to ask: will the texture be smooth or rough; and do you want glossy or matte finishes?

'Then there are the graphic styles such as vintage, floral, geometric, ethnic or minimalist.

'Finally, you need to consider the graphic composition - do you want something vertical, horizontal, repetitive, floating or irregular.' She says stripes are a low-key but classically elegant choice for children's rooms, adult or even commercial spaces and can be achieved by just painting your walls.

Other texture affects, such as raw and used (aged) looks, are also popular and reference the current trend for industrial chic.

Textured effects have become Bennani's signature look. The result is obtained with the use of water-based paint.

She uses non-toxic, odourless, paint which is free of volatile organic compounds and ideal for children's bedrooms and nurseries, with a large choice of colours.

Layers are superimposed to obtain an effect full of nuances and textures. 'It is important to master different styles and juggle them to produce a harmonious and balanced design,' she says.