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Paper Queens

Sydney duo Gabriela Tylesova and Emelia Simcox bring energy, play and finesse to the design of newly launched wallpaper brand, Aviatrix. Stephen Lacey learns a little bit about the pair, and drops by the Opera to see the wallpaper in the flesh.

Hero Image: Opera Australia’s THE TURK IN ITALY. Photo credit Lisa Tomasetti

If you pop along to Opera Australia’s latest production of Rossini’s The Turk in Italy (at the Sydney Opera House until February 12, and in Melbourne from May 1-13) you’ll be blown away, not just by soprano Emma Matthews, but by the incredibly playful sets.


Designer Gabriela Tylesova has captured the verve of the 1950s Amalfi Coast (albeit a highly stylised version) using a riot of candy colours, retro vinyl-clad furniture, Astro-turf, deckchairs and neon. However, it is the wallpaper (used in the day-glo kitchen set) that is really attracting attention. Featuring a blue aircraft motif against an orange background, Tylesova created the design not just for the production, but for her own new venture – Aviatrix.


Launched last week, Aviatrix specialises in digital wall frescoes printed in Sydney on the finest quality German Vlies. Tylesova a former puppet maker from the Czech Republic came to Australia in 1996 to study theatre design at NIDA. She recently teamed up with Sydney-born graphic designer Emelia Simcox, to create a range of wallpaper designs, inspired by everything from the lavish gilded rooms of Indian summer palaces, to ancient Egyptian calligraphy.


The funky Aerostat wallpaper featured on the set of The Turk in Italy is from the Bossa Nova collection and takes its cue from smoky mid-century jazz clubs and cocktail hours. “We’ve already had several enquiries about the Aerostat wallpaper from people who have seen the opera, and we’ve sent out some samples,” Tylesova says. “I reckon it would look really cool in a bar area, or even as a feature wall in a mid-century modern apartment.”


The actual pattern, depicting air-ships and parachutes, is a lot denser than the version used in the stage production. It’s available in orange, green, burnt umber and white.


A range of cushions based on the duo’s original designs has also been released this month and there are plans for a complete collection of soft-furnishings later in the year.