Etsy recently announced the winners of its inaugural Global Design Awards. Small-business owners representing the United States, Greece, and Israel all took top prizes in their respective categories; these winning designs include a custom midcentury doghouse, upcycled sandals, and papercut wedding art—brand-perfect entries for the e-commerce site, which is known for its unique and handmade products.
While these projects reflect the exciting mix of submissions in Etsy’s design competition, the grand prize winner puts a creative twist on a home decor element that might otherwise hide in plain sight. Interactive Magnetic Dino Wallpaper, the winning creation from London-based designer Sian Zeng, is a creative approach to children’s imaginations and the bedroom walls that house them. Zeng’s best-selling dinosaur-decorated wallpaper is hand-drawn; just underneath the whimsical illustrations, the paper is lined with magnetic material, designed to grip onto moveable magnetic characters.
In a statement to Etsy, Zeng said: “Wallpaper has always been a statement piece that brings character and personality to a space, and I love how it enables people to really make their homes their own. For me, it’s another way to create paintings that can be hung on walls. But with wallpaper, you can cover an even larger area, and set the tone and mood of an entire room.”
Zeng’s magical wallpaper was selected to win the $15,000 grand prize by a panel of judges including author and artist Garance Doré, interior designer Sophie Robinson, décor expert Holly Becker, and Etsy’s own trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson.
“One of the reasons why I love the Etsy community so much is because of the way creativity comes alive in the products,” Johnson said in a statement. “Sian’s wallpaper is an incredible example of how sellers can use their imaginations to transform everyday items into something completely innovative and unexpected.” The judges chose all of the design entries on the basis of quality, creativity, utility, and branding.
Zeng’s background in fine art and textile design inspired the Etsy seller to experiment with melding storybook-style illustrations with innovative technology. Thanks to the flexible nature of her product (customers can opt to purchase the wallpaper with or without magnetic lining) and the various opportunities to create new scenes thanks to the adjustable magnets, Zeng’s interactive wallpaper is a creation fit for the modern family home.
“Our paper encourages people to tell their own stories,” Sian explained. “I really want them to interact with the wall and see what they come up with.”