Felt Emotions: Exploring Jill Malek's Tactile Wallcoverings and Their Effect on Spaces
Posted by Julian Moran on
Interior design has long been considered a visual art form, but recent trends see it expanding into the tactile realm offering a more immersive, multi-sensory experience. This shift is evident in various ways as designers are incorporating textured tiles for added depth and employing fabrics such as leather, velvet, silk and felt for a touch of softness on walls that were traditionally one-dimensional. These elements not only enhance the look of a space but also engage our touch sense, bringing a new layer of interaction and experience. In line with this movement towards tactile design, we've been integrating sewn-on felt accents into our wallcoverings for several years now, adding a new dimension to the visual appeal of interior spaces.
In this blog post, we will dive deeper into our unique felt-accented wallcoverings, explore the inspiration behind our designs and discuss the ways they have been incorporated into various spaces. We'll delve into the emotional and psychological impact of tactile walls and reflect on how they can foster a deeper connection between individuals and their surroundings. From residential applications to commercial and healthcare environments, we'll showcase how these designs can transform any space. We'll also share case studies of some of our successful installations, offering insights into the versatility and customization possibilities of our designs. So whether you're an interior designer, architect or simply an enthusiast, we invite you to join us on this journey as we explore the world of our ‘Dimensional Felt’ wallcoverings.
The Emotional and Psychological Impact of Tactile Walls
The experience of touch plays a vital role in our emotional well-being and sense of connection with our environment. By incorporating elements that stimulate a sense of touch, tactile walls add another dimension to the design, making spaces more dynamic and engaging. The sensory experience of touching a soft texture, whether it's a plush toy or a wallcovering, can potentially provide a sense of familiarity and reassurance, helping to create a more calming environment.
Research on the benefits of tactile stimulation, particularly through soft textures, has shown that it can contribute to relaxation and stress reduction. Studies on the emotional attachment and comfort derived from stuffed animals suggest that the calming effect of soft, familiar objects can be beneficial in various settings. For example, psychologists have found that children who took their favorite plush toy with them during a doctor's visit experienced less anxiety and distress than those who did not. While the relationship between tactile surfaces and relaxation has not been extensively studied, the existing evidence suggests that incorporating soft, tactile elements in wall designs has the potential to create more engaging and calming spaces by providing a sense of familiarity and emotional connection.
Incorporating Felt into Commercial Spaces
Felt wallcoverings have found their way into a multitude of spaces in the last few years. In residential settings, they add a touch of luxury and comfort. In healthcare environments, patients might benefit from tactile wallcoverings, as the sensory experience could help create a more calming atmosphere. In educational settings, children might feel more at ease and focused in a space that incorporates soft, tactile surfaces, enhancing their overall learning experience. In corporate environments, adults may experience reduced stress and thus increased productivity when working in spaces that incorporate tactile elements that engage the senses.
Our 'Dimensional Felt' wallcoverings have graced some of the most innovative spaces as well. One of our most cherished projects is the Yellow Magnolia Café nestled within the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. The Rockwell Group approached us in 2016, seeking a statement piece that would mirror the café's namesake, the vibrant "Elizabeth" magnolia. Inspired by the garden's signature flowers, we designed a wallcovering filled with textures and motifs reminiscent of a stroll through the garden. Using Maya Romanoff felt with its sound-absorbing qualities and incorporating sewn accents by Daniel Tillman from C3 Design, we brought a rich softness to the space. This tactile feature cohesively ties the café’s interior to the larger botanical environment, enhancing the immersive experience for visitors.
This project transformed our perspective on wallcoverings, inspiring us to see them not just as background decor, but as genuine pieces of art that can shape the feel and experience of a space. The hand-sewn felt accents integrated into the wallcoverings are a testament to our ongoing exploration into tactile design.
Another project in the lineage was Google’s Chelsea headquarters in New York City, which presented a unique opportunity for us to make a bold statement with a custom Orange-colored felt. The tech giant, known for their commitment to creating a stimulating, collaborative workspace, sought a wallcovering that would provide an additional sensory layer to their café space. Drawing inspiration from shifting landscapes, we created a custom-designed 'Terrains' mural. The vibrant orange accents, sewn directly onto the wallcovering, were not only a first for us as a studio, they also brought a much-needed pop of color into the café. The ‘Dimensional Felt’ accents added a depth and texture to the space, subtly inviting visitors to engage with the wall on a sensory level. This tactile engagement enhanced the overall atmosphere of the café, creating a space that was visually dynamic, yet soothing and comfortable.
Despite initial challenges, including sourcing a felt color that met both brand standards and safety regulations, the final design was a success. The tactile mural brought an unexpected and engaging dimension to the café, adding to its unique character. This creative use of felt has since sparked interest among clients seeking to add a similar sensory depth to their own spaces, highlighting the potential for tactile wallcoverings to transform and enhance interior environments. We even used a similar colorway for a project in CVS Pharmacy’s headquarters which showcases a custom version of our TERRAINS | DIMENSIONAL FELT.
As we've traversed through our journey in tactile design, it's clear that felt accents have become more than just a trend; they're a transformative element in crafting immersive, sensory experiences within spaces. As we continue to experiment with this aesthetic, we're excited about the prospect of introducing other materials into our repertoire, promising a future filled with even more textured depth and intrigue. For those interested in weaving 'Dimensional Felt' into their own projects, we're here to guide and collaborate. We welcome your questions, value your ideas and are eager to hear how you envision bringing tactile elements into your spaces.