David K Miles

David Miles Australian Museum of Design Wallpapers
David K Miles #Wallpaper #InteriorDesign #screenprinting

Clippling supplied by: Graeme Hutchinson who worked with David K Miles

In the 1970’s there was a very small group of individuals designing and producing wallpaper.

The two most prominent were Florence Broadhurst and David Miles. David was trained as an architectural draughtsperson and was a talented artist. He was working for a flamboyant, high society interior decorator, Merle de Boulay and designed murals for private clients and mosaic tables. David met Florence Broadhurst in 1965 when he was only twenty years old. Merle de Boulay had sent him to Florence’s studio to get some wallpaper commissioned.

David set up his own business in 1969 and continued to render architectural drawings, mosaic tables and some design work for Florence Broadhurst. In the late 1960’s Florence commissioned David to create a large mural for a restaurant in Kings Cross, Sydney. A price was agreed upon, but on completion of the design David noted that she refused to pay him the agreed price!

David Miles, a trained architectural draughtsman decided to use the contacts he had established while working with Merle de Boulay (a prominent Sydney decorator with an affluent clientele) to create and market a competitive set of locally-produced, artistic handprinted wallpaper designs for the burgeoning local interior design scene.

Miles, like Broadhurst before him, began by producing simple, uncomplicated single or two colour designs during early years of production, but by the early to mid-1970s, he too, like Broadhurst before him, was marketing flamboyant and sophisticated designs in psychedelic colours on metallic foil paper to an increasingly adventurous and affluent clientele.

For David Miles, improvements in production became possible after David Miles Handprinted Wallpapers was brought by Wilson Fabrics and Wallcoverings (Arthur G Wilson Pty Ltd) in 1971, and recognition and success attained when twenty-six David Miles Handprinted Wallpaper designs were selected for inclusion in the Industrial Design Council of Australia (IDCA)’s Australian Design Index in 1972. These designs, featuring the IDCA’s ‘Good Design’ label, are included in the David Miles Handprinted Wallpaper collection.

Florence Broadhurst and David Miles were two of a very small coterie of individuals designing and manufacturing wallpaper in Australia. Interestingly, David Miles Handprinted Wallpapers was set up in direct competition with Florence Broadhurst (estab 1959) in 1969 after their earlier business disagreement. The David Miles collection therefore complements the Florence Broadhurst wallpaper collection acquired by the Powerhouse Museum in 1997 (exhibited ‘Mod to Memphis’, Powerhouse Museum, 2002).

Source: Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator 2003