The 1950s and 1960s are often referred to as the Golden Era of Finnish design. Success at the famed Milan Triennales of the 1950s helped Finnish design to propel to international fame. It was also a significant time in the history of Finnish wallpaper design: production was extensive and fresh design patterns were obtained from many well-known Finnish designers through design competitions organized by wallpaper manufacturers, which boldly took home decoration to new heights. Unlike other icons of Finnish design of the same era, such as art glass and ceramics, wallpaper was affordable and accessible everyday art: functional design for every home.
Several young generation designers who designed wallpaper patterns were well-known in other fields of the art industry, e.g. ceramicists Birger Kaipiainen and Rut Bryk, furniture designers Ilmari and Annikki Tapiovaara and Olof Ottelin, graphic designer Erik Bruun, lighting designers Yki Nummi and Lisa Johansson-Pape, designers Bertel Gardberg, Björn Rajalin, Tapio Wirkkala, Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi, Jukka Pellinen and Eero Rislakki.
The designer wallpapers of the 50s and 60s reflected a new, forward-looking design attitude. The patterns displayed simple squares, stripes, geometric shapes as well as stylised organic motifs. They took inspiration from the visual art of the era, printed fabrics, graphic design, and the hues of the surrounding environment.
Pihlgren & Ritola continues to print the designer wallpapers from the 1950s for their timeless beauty. Many of the most beloved designs originate from 1958 design competition. The designer collection also features rich patterns from the 1960s and 1970s by the versatile designer and artist Ritva Kronlund.