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Last edited 10 Sep 2020
The tapestries here, known as the Lady with the Unicorn, illustrate the story of the five senses (taste, hearing, sight, smell and touch) along with a sixth and most elaborate panel that depicts "À Mon Seul Désir" - "my one desire".
Wallcovering is a general term to describe the materials used to cover or protect interior walls. It is also associated with wallpaper products when they are used for commercial or industrial applications. For residential applications, see Wallpaper.
Wallcovering products are typically used in high-traffic areas such as lobbies, corridors, hotel suites, schools and healthcare facilities. They can bring texture, pattern and style to a space while protecting walls with a durable coating.
Early wallcoverings included tapestries, painted cloth, decoratively painted animal skins, furs and other types of wall hangings. Some of the oldest existing examples go back to the third century, although these are extremely rare. These were often used for their thermal as well as decorative properties, providing insulation and reducing radiant heat transfer with wall surfaces.
In churches, tapestries were used like stained glass windows to tell Biblical stories to illiterate members of the congregation. In castles, tapestries became status symbols for the aristocracy and were sometimes treated as currency and traded.
 Types of wallcoverings
Modern wallcoverings are varied and can be made from numerous types of materials such as vinyl, wood (veneer), cork, glass fibre, textiles and so on. They have been put into general categories by the IGI (the Global Wallcoverings Association).
Founded in 1950, the IGI has developed a system of quality assurance that is applicable worldwide. The organisation oversees the designation of measures to confirm product standards by awarding the IGI Quality mark in the following categories:
- Wallpaper - simplex (including whites for subsequent decoration)
- Wallpaper - duplex (including whites for subsequent decoration)
- Solid vinyl - paper-backed
- Solid vinyl - other backing (specify)
- Blown vinyl - chemically or mechanically embossed
- Textile wallcoverings
- Non woven - direct printed or coated and printed
- Non woven - backed solid vinyl
- Non woven - backed blown vinyl
- EN 233: 2016 Wallcoverings in roll form - Specification for finished wallpapers, wall vinyls and plastic wallcoverings.
- EN 234: 1997 Wallcoverings in roll form - Specification for wallcoverings for subsequent decoration.
- EN 259-1:2001 Wallcoverings in roll form - Specification for heavy duty wallcoverings.
- EN 266:1992 Wallcoverings in roll form - Specification for textile wallcoverings.
- EN 233:2016 Wallcoverings in roll form – Specifications for finished wallpapers, wall vinyls and plastics wallcoverings.
- EN 234:1997 Wallcoverings in roll form - Specification for wallcoverings for subsequent decoration.
- EN 235:2002 Wallcoverings in roll form - Vocabulary and symbols.
- EN 259-1:2001 Wallcoverings in roll form - Heavy duty wallcoverings - Part 1: Specifications.
- EN 259-2:2001 Wallcoverings in roll form - Heavy duty wallcoverings - Part 2: Determination of impact resistance.
- EN 266 :1992 Specification for textile wallcoverings.
- EN 12149:1998 Wallcoverings in roll form - Determination of migration of heavy metals and certain other elements, of vinyl chloride monomer and of formaldehyde release.
- EN 12956:1999 Wallcoverings in roll form - Determination of dimensions, straightness, spongeability and washability.
- EN12781:2001 Wallcoverings - Specification for cork panels.
- EN15102:2007 Decorative wallcoverings - Roll and panel form products.
In 2005, IGI partnered with the British Coatings Federation to form the Wallcoverings Sector Council (WSC). The British Coatings Federation represents the interests of the decorative, industrial and powder coatings, printing inks and wallcovering manufacturers.
The partnership resulted in the formulation of the WSC Technical Committee. This organisation reports to the Council and provides updates on topics such as PVC recycling, construction product regulation and climate change agreements.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Bromley Hall evolution.
- Large-scale murals.
- Quality control for construction works.
- Stained glass.
- The Dukes of Normandy and the second world war.
- The history of fabric structures.
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