EXTRATAPETE stands for individual wallpaper design, an established brand well known for its diverse collections for individual purchase and commissioned projects alike.
The brain behind EXTRATAPETE belongs to the Swiss graphic designer Matthias Gerber. After graduating from the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Lucerne, he moved to Berlin and founded EXTRATAPETE together with Kathrin Kreitmeyer. Their aim was to awaken wallpapers from their long hibernation and assert them as true design objects. Ever since, the brand has created unique collections that have achieved cult status.
Matthias Gerber, dipl. Designer
What brings a Swiss designer to suddenly move to Berlin and produce wallpapers?
„Berlin of the mid 90s had a near magical appeal for a young designer. The city was in a state of transition and was full of creative spaces where unconventional ideas could be nurtured. Typically for a Swiss graphic designer, I was passionate about typography and poster design and founded a company together with Kathrin Kreitmeyer in 1999. While I was busy with various graphic projects, Kathrin began to design patterns. Soon we came up with the idea of developing our own products. Wallpapers were rather out back then, so of course, we hoped we could revive interest in them. This is how our first collection emerged and EXTRATAPETE was born.“
What was it like at the beginning?
„EXTRATAPETE set foot very quickly into Berlin's design scene. Around that same time, Design aus Berlin was turning into a label that incorporated innovative products and new production and marketing methods. Quite a few other labels appeared and contributed smart products and new ideas to the design market. We managed to take advantage of these favourable conditions and quickly turned EXTRATAPETE into a brand name in Germany and beyond.“
And what about what happened after that startup period?
„That's when the big projects came. We had already made a name for ourselves and were considered to be the creative ones in the business. The established wallpaper industry could not believe its eyes as it saw what was going on, while the big companies and agencies saw the potential in appropriating the medium for themselves. Many big fashion labels approached us in order to order wallpapers for their shops. Simultaneously, we continued to expand our own collections.“
What does EXTRATAPETE do nowadays?
„In 2011, we moved into an office space and a show room in Berlin's new creative department store, Planet Modulor. A network consisting of creative companies and business emerged there. Since that moment, I have been managing EXTRATAPETE on my own. The focus of my work has therefore shifted towards contract-based projects. Our team has had the pleasure to work with a whole list of clients from industries as diverse as art, design and finance. Additionally, we have developed yet another new collection: wall-sized city maps of some of the most important metropolises in the world, a cooperation with the Falk publishing house.“
Contract work or own collection: which is the more interesting line of work for EXTRATAPETE?
„There's a clear answer there: both! Designing our own collections is very challenging. It requires a good sense of intuition for fashions and future trends, a lot of time and some vision. It can take a long time to launch a collection. But then again, we are usually ahead of our time with most of our projects. Contract work is inherently tied to a certain space. First and foremost, it means we have to engage with the space's architecture and to look for a visual template that can both surprise and integrate into the space's general fabric.“
Does a wallpaper inevitably mean a repetitive pattern?
„No, not necessarily. For me, a wallpaper is first of all a medium that supports a design, that we cover the walls with. Even though wallpapers are produced in strips, modern production techniques have helped overcome any limitations, as the transition between the strips is now so smooth it is nearly invisible. Following this concept has enabled us to set new trends.“
What is the advantage in ordering wallpapers from you?
„Our work is based on years of experience in designing and producing our own collections. This gives us much needed insight into the ways to best implement every project. We can quickly see whether a pattern achieves the best results and can then work it accordingly. Our well known cooperation with architects, designers and artists requires both empathy and high precision in the production.“
What's the EXTRA in EXTRATAPETE?
„EXTRA means modern, high quality, practical and service-oriented: we aim at shaping the future and leave retro designs for others. We only use the best quality materials for our wallpapers and always adjust it to each application area. In order to help our customers choose from a variety of alternatives, our designers are always there to contribute from their knowledge and use photo montages and sample consignment to help support a decision.“