Having no regrets about your life is so cliche, isn’t it? I for one have no idea what I was thinking when I painted my first Prague room bright turquoise or when I let this seemingly sweet guy ‘walk me to the train station’ in Rotterdam last month. About 30 minutes later, I found myself outside his house instead – in, mind you, a very dark street. (All I’m saying is that it’s so hard to tell a rapist these days when most of the heavy-tattoed, greasy-haired gents with geeky specs just turn out to be vegan hipsters in the end!)
But while Rotterdam might not be on the top of my list of favourite holiday destinations for a very long time, I still believe that adding a bit of character to your walls is one of the best creative therapies in the world and just that perfect little change in your life to make when you feel like your life has slipped into a routine of sorts. I also believe that every such therapy should start at Lavmi.
Despite having entered the local wallpaper scene already in 2009 and becoming a darling among the local interior designers since, I always, always get a surprised look when I try and explain to someone they actually are a Czech brand. “Well, we did have the intention to keep the production Czech from start to finish, but recently decided to move the printing to Germany as they turned out to be much more effective there. The Germans seem to have a better understanding of the word ‘deadline’, ” smiles one of the brand owners, Jan, as we meet over a big cup of soy latte in their peaceful Old Town showroom.
So what is it that makes their prints so massively popular in Japan or Sweden and all of my friends betting on the fact they’re actually a Scandinavian brand? Babeta, the creative mind behind the incredibly soothing minimalistic designs, likes to blame her calligraphic background, although she admits she herself still hasn’t quite figured out the answer to that.
“I remember Babeta waking up one day and sighing how she’d always wanted to make wallpapers,” says Jan, explaining their transition from a successful graphic design studio to country’s most admired wallpaper producers. Everything about Lavmi between that memorable morning and their current worldwide success indeed seems to be a bit of a fairytale. I immediately fall in love with Babeta’s ultimate inspiration, her former art teacher with the quirkiest studio (“It had to be entered through a proper wardrobe and there was just this most eclectic mix of stuff lying about: think random fish tanks with re-created scenes from Verne’s adventure novels… You could literally just stay there for hours and do nothing but look around.”
The couple is so passionate about their work it would even make Jamie Oliver ditch his apron and go wallpaper: I learn how obsessed with quality they are, aiming for eco-friendly non-woven with zero heavy metals or PVC; how they prefer to have their office just next door from the showroom to be able to spend as much time on the shop floor as possible, even how they love to re-dress the walls in their own home every now and then (with their very designs!).
“We like to think of our wallpapers as true statement pieces, just as we perceive our customers as strong-minded individuals. Dressing up one wall of your room is often more than enough to change the overall vibe,” says Babeta as we dive into the pretty catalogues, with – last but not least – the cutest children designs you have ever seen (all named after their or their friends’ kids). The most recent collections include matching lampshades, carpets, bedsheets or even clocks, so the shop might be well worth checking out even if you’re currently not in the market for new walls. Also, am I the only one who thinks these guys should start making wrapping paper? Somebody say a little prayer please and thank you.
P.S. The shop also sells many other sound wallpaper brands, including Thibaut, MissPrint or PiP Studio.
Lavmi, Zlatnická 12, Praha 1 (metro B: Náměstí republiky) Mo-Fri 10-7, Sat 10-6