Charlap Hyman & Herrero, New York – Los Angeles: Overgrow // QUARANTINE SPIRIT

Charlap Hyman & Herrero Photo: AH

Adam Charlap Hyman and Andre Herrero are the founders of the Los Angeles and New York-based architecture and design firm Charlap Hyman & Herrero, which takes a fully integrated approach to conceptualising and executing spaces in their totality.

For the WALDEN exhibition at Schloss Hollenegg for Design, they collaborated with New York firm Calico Wallpaper in order to produce Overgrow.

Charlap Hyman & Herrero, Interview: Nina Prehofer

Your work for the Walden exhibition for Schloss Hollenegg for Design had to be presented online this time around. How much has your work been disrupted over the last few months?

Adam Charlap Hyman: Luckily we’ve been doing really well! While many of our works like theatre performances and exhibitions that are open to the public have been put on hold, we’ve continued working on residential projects.

Charlap Hyman & Herrero
Photo: Matt Johnson

We’ve been able to make the most of the lockdown to immerse ourselves in several creative endeavours, for example some textiles and furniture designs.

To what extent was your creative working process interrupted?

Adam Charlap Hyman: In terms of our Overgrow project for Walden, Andre and I designed the mural during our visit to the castle, took the necessary measurements and carried out the surveys that we needed in order to start painting. Fortunately that all took place much earlier, which meant we were able to complete the actual artwork in New York at a later date.

Schloss Hollenegg for Design

The final images were scanned and arranged by the team at Calico, who made the wallpaper, then sent to Austria to be installed. So really, it went more or less as planned, other than the presentation – it wasn’t possible to experience the exhibition in person.

How differently do you think the work will be received?

Andre Herrero: With our wallpaper, we wanted to bring the nature that’s outside to the inside the castle, and in doing so make reference to the historic painted wallpapers that can be found in some of the other rooms. The motif of the vines is both romantic and somewhat dark, as we want to allude to the fact that all places turn into ruins when they are taken over by nature.

Charlap Hyman & Herrero
Photo: Matt Johnson

Of course, it would have been much more intense for people to experience the castle, the surrounding nature and then the room with our Overgrow wallpaper in real life. Having said that, we’re happy with the digital work, for example what we also did for the Guggenheim Works & Process series.

But the day we’re able to get creative with our team again will be a great moment!

Schloss Hollenegg for Design, Austria

It is the time to bring nature back in our everyday life: not the romanticised, sanitised, domesticated version of it, but the gritty, wild stuff.



For the exhibition WALDEN at Schloss Hollenegg Charlap Hyman & Herrero has created a printed mural from hand-painted artworks to clad the ceiling and one formerly blank wall. The wallpaper depicts the lush and verdant vines that spill down from covered walkways, staircases, and towers around the castle, teaming with a variety of insect life.

By bringing this defining feature of the facade indoors, Charlap Hyman & Herrero distorts the distinction between the decorated interior and the wilderness beyond, while referencing the presence of historical landscape wallpaper throughout the castle.

The mural, installed amongst the furnishings of a stately bedroom and
large 17th century Brussel tapestries, teeters between a romantic suggestion of man’s poetic relationship with nature and an ominous reminder that all buildings will become ruins eventually, overtaken by the untameable.

Schloss Hollenegg