Designtex + Charley Harper = magical materials (a carefully curated selection of 12 wallcoverings and textiles)

Designtex has long been an admirer of Charley Harper’s work, for its simultaneous simplicity and complexity, his use of colour, and his refreshing take on the ordinary. The Cincinnati-based American modernist artist, who died in 2007, was best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. 

Designtex + Charley Harper is a carefully curated selection of 12 wallcoverings and textiles, developed in consultation with designer and author Todd Oldham, who worked closely with Harper during his later years and is currently the steward of the Harper archive. Harper’s designs have been studiously reimagined to capture the spirit of the original artwork: a sophisticated innocence and sense of humour that appeals to all ages.

“When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, colour combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting; in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe.”—Charley Harper

Designtex + Charley Harper explores how vivid colour and vibrant imagery can contribute to better healing outcomes in the healthcare environment, and indeed enhanced well-being in any environment. A number of the styles have been specifically developed to meet the performance standards of the healthcare industry, although they are also suitable for use anywhere a coordinated collection of distinctive surfaces is required. All of the wallcoverings are produced using state-of-the-art digital technologies on a durable, PVC-free, smooth, matte-finish substrate. In addition, a number of these digitally printed wallcoverings (Space for All Species, The Big Ladybug and Birch Bark and Birds) have customizable options. Says Designtex president Susan Lyons, “I have been an enthusiastic fan of Mr. Harper’s work for years, so it is a privilege to be working with the Harper archive. His work is so poetically descriptive, his colour combinations are uncanny, and the images are magically reductive and abundant. When I approached Todd Oldham about working with the archive, we both got excited about developing the first collection to address the notion of wellness in healing environments. I look at Mr. Harper’s work and I am immediately swept away. We hope that these products will make people smile.”

This video can also provide additional insight into Harper’s work and this collaboration:


Designtex is the leading company in the development, design, and manufacturing of applied materials for the built environment. Designtex is a recognized innovator in the research and development of textiles, wallcoverings, and digitally imaged materials with reduced environmental impact. A Steelcase company, Designtex is headquartered in New York City with over 100 sales offices around the world. 

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