Media Lifeline: Wallpaper*
The glossy magazine for style-conscious bachelors is ten years old.
1996: The London-based French-Canadian Tyler Brule, 27, a former BBC researcher, launches Wallpaper*, a glossy magazine distributed in both London and New York. Aimed at an archetypal readership of 29-year-old style-conscious bachelors, this interior design and lifestyle title (its remit stretches to fashion, cuisine and travel) sets out to become a rallying standard for 90s minimalists everywhere.
1997: Less than a year after its launch, the Wallpaper* operation is bought by Time Inc for a rumoured £1 million. Brule (pictured) had taken its circulation to 80,000 copies - now Time plans to make it a global asset with a circulation in excess of 130,000.
2001: The Wallpaper* operation becomes a group, headed by Brule as chief executive, when it diversifies with the launch of Spruce, a global title for the fashion elite. And with Time Inc senior executives tied up in their acquisition of the UK's biggest consumer magazine publisher, IPC, he continues to be given free rein.
2002: But following the deal, his group is subsumed into IPC and Brule is forced to revert to the position of editorial director. The more populist outlook of senior IPC managers begins to grate - so it's no surprise when Brule picks a fight (over an expenses claim for a £6 taxi fare) and flounces out, eventually severing his ties with the title.
2006: IPC's attempts to make Wallpaper* appeal to a wider readership are not entirely successful. But its new editor-in-chief, Jeremy Langmead (pictured), steadies the ship, and the title celebrates its tenth anniversary with parties in Milan and London.
Fast forward ...
2007: Now IPC decides to go for broke and appoints a former Ikea creative guru as its new editorial director. Circulation booms as Wallpaper* adopts a more populist approach to design minimalism, and figures are boosted by the fact that it is now given away with purchases over £100 at a worldwide network of stores selling self-assembly Scandinavian-style furniture.
This article was first published on Campaign
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