Carl Cahill, web designer and creative, tells Living more about Purbeck Wallpaper, which collaborates with photographers to turn stunning prints and a love of the local area into iconic wall art

When was Purbeck Wallpaper founded and how did the idea for the company come about?

Purbeck Wallpaper was founded in September 2017. The idea was born from a discussion between a few us in the pub whilst organising a local community event called Swanage Fish Festival. Geoff, a local printer said that his new machine can print wallpaper and a few of us quickly started to dream up the idea of having our incredible local landmarks right there in your living room. We started to talk to a number of local photographers that would like to be apart of the project and see how much interest there was.

The company is described as a “collaboration of photographers and businesses” – how does that partnership work? Which local businesses are involved?

We have a number of businesses involved for various reasons. GH Print Management in Swanage does all the printing and dispatching for Purbeck Wallpaper. I am a local web designer and creative who runs Purbeck Wallpaper and collates all the artwork. We also have our independent photographers. The main thing for everyone is complete transparency, fairness and constant reflection on our passion for our local area. The collaboration is built upon that and the idea that any image sold is another success of us sharing our beautiful surrounding area and celebrating our local talent.

Tell me about your background – have you always had an interest in photography/art/interior design?

In truth, not massively. I’ve always loved design and have dabbled with a camera, although I am of the opinion that sometimes it’s better to have people that know what they’re doing do their bit in the process. I love what our photographers capture and I especially love the stories they tell about their pictures. I see many pictures of our local area but what I really like about every image taken in Purbeck Wallpaper is that the hands that took the picture, love the area as much as I do.

Are all of the images you use local to Purbeck? Or are some from further afield?

We try to stick to the Purbeck District as much as possible. It’s hard as there are so many great sights and our photographers are always producing great stuff further afield.

Why is it so important to you to showcase the local area?

It’s our home and home to many beautiful living creatures. The idea was built upon sharing the sites that we see almost every day and celebrating local talent. We don't want to dilute that.

Are your clients mostly locally based? Or is there much interest from elsewhere in the country/world?

Most of our clients are locally based. Commercial and residential premises have been interested the most but we do see people ordering further afield. Purbeck scenes, artwork and paintings are still bought and taken away from holiday makers and visitors who love the area as much as we do. We have had enquiries from expats too.

Tell us more about the range of services you offer.

At the moment, our range covers landscapes and wildlife photography and everything is printed to order. A customer can customise the size of their print specifications and have the wallpaper within two weeks. We have had many requests to print other images but quality and loyalty to our photographers is important to us. Every image goes through quality checks, ensuring that they are the size required to fill an entire wall. We will offer wallpaper installation and hanging services eventually but in truth, our wallpaper is so easy to put up, anyone can do it. The wallpaper does not require any paste or complex equipment. Just dunk it in water and up it goes.

What impact do the images have on a person’s home/business when installed on a large scale?

It can literally transform a room, making any space interesting. The great thing is that anything is possible. I’m having a life-size deer put in my toilet! With Purbeck Wallpaper, you need to think about walls in general and not just the obvious living room wall. We have had people buy seascape wallpaper and then overlay it with perspex for their shower cubicles. The reason for this is because people just simply want to walk in to a room and feel like they’re seeing their favourite view.

What is the largest size image you have produced?

So far it’s four metres wide but we can do larger. We do have some artwork that can do double that. We make sure with every order quality is important. You do see wallpapers like ours where you do lose quality even at those sizes because the artwork is not large enough. We want to make sure that if you have your nose pressed against the wall, quality still won't be an issue.

Is there a growing trend for such artwork as opposed to traditional wallpaper?

I believe there is, but that’s only come from the feedback we have received. I think people are more conscious about their living spaces and want to personalise them more.

Are there plans to expand the business or offer additional or alternative services? Or any other plans for the future?

Yes, we do want to expand our range of artwork and even take on local artists who can visualise paintings at a larger scale. We will think about how we take on new locations and even produce other printed materials. Personalisation is also something we’re experimenting with too, like having your initials artwork on a tree in the image.

How does it make you feel when you see the finished article installed?

Every time, it takes your breath away and makes you want to walk straight into the wall. The best part for me is seeing a photographer's face for the first time. It’s almost as if they missed the opportunity of seeing the view for themselves at that exact moment because they were peering through the camera. It's incredible seeing these views and how they allow time to stand still.