Designer Insights: John Paul Valverde & Miguel Vicens, Partners, Creative Directors, Coeval Studio

The big picture. Too often, when people think of wallcoverings they only think of wallpaper. We think about the category in a bigger way. It might be wallpaper, but it can also be a finish or a material like a veneer, or graphics, or tile, or a custom-printed vinyl that reinforces the brand. You can even find a lot of great natural materials like paper-thin wood that you install like wallpaper.

Instagram and ROI: That being said, we do use a lot of wallpaper in different ways, sometimes to make a big impact or energize a space and sometimes to soften a space. A great thing about wallpaper, too, is that it’s a really easy way to transform a room without blowing a crazy budget. The main goal is always to create the right ambience and those social moments that people want to be in, take pictures of and share. But in restaurant design, it also has to be all about ROI. You can go in and cover all the walls with high-end finishes and custom products, but for many projects, especially independent restaurants, that’s just not realistic or smart.

Strategies: Stating the obvious, but always use commercial-grade, wipeable wallcoverings for restaurant projects and/or make sure you know what it’s going to take to keep them looking good. And think about traffic. You probably don’t want higher end wallpapers in very high-traffic areas, service areas or even on hard corners that are likely to get bumped and brushed up against routinely. Opt instead for some of the more durable finishes that you know won’t get chewed up. A lot of times we’ll use wallpapers on higher accent walls, or on the upper portion of walls with painted wood wainscot below it. It helps to protect it from contact, but also adds another layer to the design.

Snapshot: We’re just opening the second unit of a restaurant in Dallas called El Bolero. We did a cactus wallpaper installation. It’s a really beautiful, bold, clean pattern that’s picked up again in a mosaic tile installation around the kitchen expo window. We wanted to mimic the pattern in the wallpaper so the green is an element from all angles inside the restaurant. And we did another wallpaper installation there that has more florals in it, which is a nice soft element. Together, they help to create a really fun space. For another project, Vidorra, we used a local illustrator and did a really great mural there at the entry and across from the bar. It really complements the space and people take a lot of pictures of it. That’s a painted mural, but in the same space we also use a moss wallcovering. It’s dead moss, but it doesn’t look dead. It’s a natural material that adds a unique look.

ceilume2Light-Transmitting Ceiling Panels

Trans luminous ceiling panels transmit backlighting to provide attractive, evenly illuminated overhead surfaces. Use the thermoformed panels as “dropout” panels beneath fire sprinklers to avoid ceiling clutter, eliminate shadows, and reduce construction time and cost. They are GREENGUARD Gold certified for indoor air quality, recyclable, lightweight, durable and easy to install in conventional ceiling T-bar grids. Panels are washable to meet health department requirements for use over food-prep areas and are available in four levels of light transmittance: opaque, translucent, frosted and clear and in 40 decorative patterns.


certainteed waveNew Baffle Shapes

CertainTeed added two shapes to its line of Ecophon Solo baffles: Wave and Zig Zag. Create custom visuals for contemporary spaces through the creative arrangement of standard product sizes and shapes. New accessories also allow for vertical installation onto walls, enhancing design flexibility. Not only do these products accommodate existing HVAC ductwork, plumbing and fire-protection systems, but they also provide advanced acoustic management.

CertainTeed Corp.

duchateau celestio legno 2LED Backlit, 3D Wood Wall Panels

Duchateau added two collections to its wood wall panel line: Celestio and Celestio Legno. The Celestio collection mounts on acrylic panels with the option to install multicolored LED lighting through special lighting standoffs. The back-lit technicolor hues turn the wall coverings into sculptural art. For a more classic, solid wood aesthetic, the Celestio Legno collection is available without the LED option. Both collections are manufactured in walnut or oak (per specified color), are pre-drilled for easy installation, and come in eight geometric-inspired patterns and eight colors.


eckel1Customizable Noise-Control Panels

Eckel Noise Control Technologies’ acoustic panels reduce reverberation in large and small restaurants and hospitality facilities. They’re available in a range of custom sizes up to 10 feet by 30 inches and can be painted or fabric-covered to match a restaurant’s decor.

Eckel Noise Control Technologies

ege2Natural-Look Porcelain

Ege Seramik America’s Michigan Collection marries the durability and versatility of porcelain tile with the appearance of natural stone. The fully polished, rectified tiles come in four colors: ivory, brown, gray and anthracite and three sizes: 18 by 18 inches, 24 by 24 inches and 24 by 48 inches.

Ege Seramik America

formica1Decorative Protection Panels

HardStop Decorative Protection Panels are available in all Formica brand colors and patterns. This line features a fiberglass core that enhances durability and strength. HardStop is impact- and water-resistant, dimensionally stable and has a Class A fire rating, per the maker. Apply the panels directly to drywall. They are suitable for vertical applications in a variety of foodservice and hospitality settings.

Formica Corporation

cluster lilacCustomizable Digital Prints

HD Walls offers a library of digital wall graphics, patterns and murals, all concepted, designed and produced in-house. All designs are customizable in color, scale and substrate. Choose from more than 30 exclusive substrates. The Cosmos Collection (shown) was inspired by acrylic pouring. This technique mixes acrylic paint with a pouring medium before pouring it onto a surface. Original paintings using this technique were then scanned and digitally enhanced to create large-scale murals suited for feature and/or accent walls.

HD Walls

innovations1Stylish Durability

Melding soft ad silvery tones, Felix uses geometric edging and colorization to add craftsmanship to a Type II vinyl construction suitable for high-traffic areas. The print layers white ink on a metallic film in two diverse colorways: One version highlights rich jewel tones for a bolder aesthetic, while the second contains soft, muted neutrals.


keleenleathers1Leather KLAD Wall Tiles

KLAD Luxury Leather Wall System features wall tiles of all shapes and sizes that can be precision cut to specified dimensions using any of Keleen’s leathers as the surface material. The completely customizable wallcoverings are acoustical, too. All pieces mount securely to the wall with no sagging, wrinkles or tension points, per the maker. Use them on curved surfaces and columns as well as on flat wall surfaces.

Keleen Leathers

kirei2Sound-Curbing Panels

EchoFold, a wall covering and ceiling system series from Kirei, helps deflect and absorb sound. Choose from Maxi, Mini and Micro sizes and 27 colorways. These panels adhere to any flat surface using standard construction adhesive, offering visual motion while curbing sound. Also offered as a ceiling system, EchoFold ACT adds acoustic control and high-end design to standard drop ceilings. It comes in two sizes, Mini and Micro, in both 2-by-2-foot and 2-by-4-foot tiles.


luxxbox acoustic wall 1Hexy Wall Tiles

The Hexy Wall Tiles reduce reverberated noise in open spaces, enhancing guest comfort and conversation. Featuring a sound-absorption NRC rating of 0.75+, the system’s modular design makes it suitable for use in a variety of foodservice spaces. Choose from five different patterns: Dot, Hexagon, Half, Diamond and Diamond Skew as well as more than a dozen colors.


makeitmetal1Metal Veneer Coatings

MakeItMetal uses metal veneer coatings on a variety of surfaces to create the appearance and texture of real metal. Metal coatings allow for a variety of design capabilities and are suitable for use on both interior and exterior surfaces. MakeItMetal was specified to cover fluted fiberboard columns, concrete caps and plywood in an antique bronze finish in the renovated Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto (pictured).

MakeItMetal Ltd.

newleaf1Natural Wood-Look Veneers

NewLeaf performance veneers are engineered, pre-finished veneer surfaces with a natural wood grain aesthetic. These engineered performance products use exclusive topcoats to increase the lifespan of the veneer, which is printed based on scans of sawn natural wood for an authentic and consistent appearance.

NewLeaf Performance Veneers

turf deltaCarved PET Felt Tiles

TURF has expanded its collection of sound-absorbing carved wall tiles. The eight-product collection ranges from geometric tessellations to layered tiles with dynamic line play. Pictured are Delta, featuring a linear pattern of channels, and Fracture, with a simple geometry of bisecting lines that branch into complex patterns. The tiles give walls dimension and increase their acoustic value. Made from PET felt, they’re available in single-color (9 mm) or two-tone styles (12 and 18 mm) and have an NRC range of 0.25 to 0.40.