Seven Questions for Eskayel’s Shanan Campanaro

Shanan Campanaro brings the soul of an artist and the sharp eye of a fashion-savvy graphic designer to Eskayel, a collection of custom wallcoverings that has rapidly expanded into fabrics, rugs, and decorative products such as enchanting pillows, scarves, and stationery. Educated at Central St Martins, Brooklyn-based Campanaro developed Eskayel’s distinctive style—painterly and organic yet contemporary and at times downright futuristic—by mixing the handmade and the digitally manipulated. She uses watercolors and soluble watercolor pens to create paintings, scans them, and then plays around with their pixels. This week marks the launch of “Cosmos” (pictured below), a collection of starry, outer space-inspired patterned pillows made in collaboration with ABC Home. She talked with us about the out-of-this-world pillows, the origins of Eskayel, and how she keeps the company’s products eco-friendly.

How did you begin Eskayel?
I made some wallpaper for my house out of a design from one of my paintings, and then decided to try and make a whole collection and enter into a design show in Brooklyn.

Environmental responsibility is an important aspect of Eskayel—has that commitment been challenging to sustain as your business has grown?
Well, we are so committed to staying as green as possible that it just means certain things that might make our product less expensive or more commercially viable are off-limits. For example, producing overseas or using vinyl. There are a ton of innovations in technology that have come along that have made things easier for us. Because of these innovations, our contract paper is recycled and the paper substrate with the contract requirements is a relatively new product. Also, the latex digital printers which use water-based inks and have the durability of solvent printers (which off-gas, and have not been an option for us in the past) have really expanded our capabilities.

How did the collaboration with ABC Home come about?
We met buyers from ABC several years ago at ICFF [the International Contemporary Furniture Fair], but it really all started when Paulette Cole, the owner, saw our Poolside collection at ICFF in 2012. The standard Eskayel line was selling well, so they wanted some exclusive patterns for ABC from us, so we designed the Cosmos collection for them and collaborated on furniture. The Cosmos collection ships today, so it should be in stores any moment!

poolside chairHow did you go about creating the “Cosmos” collection?
The Cosmos collection was a group of patterns I designed based loosely around the shapes and colors of different star formations. I had just completed the Lora collection that has a lot of muted colors and elaborate, intricate patterns, and so I was really interested in creating patterns that had some brighter color pops and strong central motifs.

What do you consider your best or most memorable design-related encounter?
Mike D. coming to our old studio to purchase wallpaper for his wife’s office. You can read the full description here.

What has been your proudest design moment?
I think my proudest moment thus far was that I was asked to help design a restaurant earlier this year. It has been a super fun project, but also a huge challenge. I can’t wait to see it through to completion and be able to show and tell all the details!

Looking into the future, any categories you’d like to expand into?
I would like to do more interior design consulting and more work with hotels. I would also like to work on books and publishing. I would love to collaborate with a larger company on ceramics.