History on the Walls

By Molly Schiff

In the world of art, a diptych is an object with two flat, identically sized panels that face each other to create one work. This concept is reflected in the Parisian brand diptyque. The shop that Christine Montadre-Gautrot, Desmond Knox-Leet, and Yves Coueslant originally opened in Paris had two front windows resembling this exact idea. They formed a natural diptych in the front corner of the shop that they utilised for their wares. After this realisation, the street corner at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris adopted the French version of the word “diptych” to become “diptyque.” Through the windows of the infamous store grew a wonderful company known for its magical scents and homewares. Now comes the newest line from them: wallpapers. Yet like everything else this brand does, the new decoration pieces are deeply steeped in the original three owners and the very ‘fingerprint’ of the brand. Find out more in History on the Walls.

It was the bond of three friends that solidified the foundation of diptyque. Meeting through friends of friends, the three artists almost immediately became inseparable. An artistic web formed the day they connected and continued to spin and burst with creativity. With Montadre-Gautrot as an interior designer, Knox-Leet as a painter, and Coueslant as a theatre set designer, their art melded into the perfect balance. A truly magical combination that made diptyque so special. With the three of them, there was so much heritage to harness.

One commonality the three different artists shared was their love for travel. Each of their sketchbooks filled to the brim with memories of places and tales to share. Inspiration from the pictures they painted of every beautiful moment spent in the most beautiful parts of the world shines in the wallpaper collection.

These three true artists of their time, of course, the founders recognized that a diptych existed in their little corner shop of exotic rarities. A wonder within the wonders: the perfect name. The original diptyque shop was a place where each member of this trio could share their passions and discoveries of the world with their world. The only plan they had upon opening the shop was to follow their gut and do what makes them happy.

By doing just this, the founders saw the company grow and flourish. However, it has an extremely rich, intricately spun history. It all started with the woven fabrics and the display of trinkets from their travels. Diptyque then eventually broke into the world of scents and homewares, still staying true to their roots with every new creation. For instance, the rosy-smelling Paris en Fleur candle pays tribute to the Bagatelle garden in Paris.

The founders paid extreme attention to detail when designing every little thing in the early stages of the company. To give you another fun example, Desmond Knox-Leet created the labels on each candle as a visual poem. He made a font unique to diptyque and arranged the letters as a pyramid, telling a story and referencing the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who created the calligram. Calligrams are texts where the layout of the words shows an image that further explains what the words themselves mean. This concept goes back to the notion that everything in diptyque is connected.

The oval design seen on the front of every candle and scent is yet another love letter to diptyque’s origins. From the very beginning of diptyque, this shape has held significance. The oval resembles that of the ancient Roman shield, the Praetorian. It is the star of an original diptyque fabric creation, spun with thread linked to ancient Rome. Centuries of history lie behind the Praetorian. Thus, it became their logo: the image is worn proudly by all the beauty they later created. And now, years later, Diptyque pays homage to this very origin with “Pretorian”: a special piece in the contemporary assembly of nonwoven wallpaper inspired by the Maison’s archive collection.

Fabric designer Cecile Figuette partnered with diptyque for the wallpaper collection. She harnessed the past preserved in the diptyque archives. From a dreamy forest scene with warm, contrasting pops of red, yellow, and green in “Les Lilas” to the magnetising sea of blues and greens shown in “Jardin Clos,” it’s difficult not to stop and stare. One also must recognize that these designs reference the images and stories told in the travel journals of the three founders.

Les Lilas

Equally as eye-catching are the patterned pieces, absolutely jumping off the wall. With the archival creative base comes a modern twist. The excitement of their travels conveyed abstractly through puzzling mosaic patterns and dauntless colours. Focus on the feeling of warmth and excitement experienced when travelling.

Jardin Clos

Walking through a home decorated exclusively with these wallpapers, you would have quite the journey. Upon entering the house, you see “Boscage.” You get blissfully lost in the black and white etchings of fruit and leaves that seem to extend into each other, connected by vines. 

Boscage

This sitting room below has a wall backed by “Excentrique.” With layers of squares and circles overlapping, the intricacies are difficult to miss. It easily steals the show.

Excentrique

The meaningful antiquity of diptyque is eminent in “Pretorien.” As mentioned above, this pattern draws inspiration from antique Roman shields and gives a nod to the company’s origins. It references the logo seen on every candle and perfume label.

Pretorien

One could experience feelings of serenity in the bathroom with “Odalisque.” At first glance, this appears as a shape resembling a cloud and a wave. However, upon closer inspection, it is a bunch of bodies all interconnected. Filled with lines of light blue and soft bumps, it is nothing short of calming.

Odalisque

Above all, this wallpaper shows the original Diptyque desire to put love into the world. The creation of this collection is not simply that, but an artistic experience. Extractions from diaries of each of the founding trio’s travels are woven together into captivating home decor. Established images and patterns with roots entrenched deep in the history and foundation of Diptyque.

If you like History On The Walls, why not read Love Your Home

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