Up Against the Wall

The Maxalot Gallery, in Barcelona, promotes graphic design as fine art, giving designers a place to stretch. “Normally they work for commercial industries within serious boundaries,” gallery co-owner Max Akkerman says. “But on the side they’re always free-styling on their Web sites, making amazing things that they can never release commercially.”

Maxalot’s goal is to provide a commercial outlet for these more experimental works by graphics teams such as The Designers Republic, Eboy, Greyscale, and We Work for Them. In addition to prints, the gallery sells fashion accessories and limited-edition toys created by designers. More recently Akkerman has branched out into interiors. “We had the idea to blow things up really big for an exhibition, and then all of a sudden we were thinking ‘Wallpaper,’” he says. He invited his regular stable, as well as a few designers he’d long admired, to envision their work at room scale. The only parameter Akkerman gave them was a wall space of 3 meters high by 6 meters wide (roughly 10 feet by 20 feet). The exhibition of wall-coverings will show at Maxalot and M-Room gallery in Frankfurt, Germany, in early 2005 and will be available on the Maxalot Web site (www.maxalot.com).

“After that we will take it to a wallpaper manufacturer in the hope that they would like to play,” Akkerman says. He notes that the gallery can currently print the wallpapers digitally as one-offs for clients such as bars and restaurants, but his vision is to mass-produce an affordable product for everyone. “I’m sure there’s a market for that,” he says of the expensive one-offs, “but I would rather bring graphic design as an art form into the world on as many walls as possible.”

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