Cape Town-based Robin Sprong was working as a professional photographer when he stumbled onto the idea of producing wallpaper while searching for a cheap way to print images en masse.
"At that time I met a man with a large-format digital printer and he allowed me to come in to his workshop and start experimenting on his various machines," Sprong says. "I printed vinyl and wallpaper on a machine called a Grand-Jet, used to print huge truck canvases. The Grand-Jet had such a heavy grain that it was more like art than print. It was all about learning what the different machines could do and what they could cope with."
And so began Robin Sprong Wallpaper, a surface design company that can create almost any kind of imagery for interiors.
Sprong now represents over 40 different artists, illustrators and designers, whose work he translates into wall coverings. It's like living inside an exquisitely wrapped present, turned inside-out. "With digital print, traditional wallpaper is totally off the wall!" he says. "We can now do whatever we want, from blowing up a photograph super-size to illustration to graphics to patterns."
As wallpaper's appeal widens and the range of products improves, Sprong has developed his offerings – he recently started using a new type of pre-gummed wallpaper that is PVC free, 100% recyclable and printed with non-toxic latex inks.
Beyond the collections that he develops with designers, he also does custom design jobs in collaboration with designers. "It gets really interesting working with the diversity of talent we have in this country. Often our studio is buzzing with designers, artists and clients all at the same time," he says.
Flip through our Lookbook above to see three newly released collections by Atang Tshikare, Skinny laMinx and Tiphiane Alston.