Wednesday 16 October 2019

Wild at heart

Dinosaurs are not just for kids, you know. Kirstie McDermott goes big on the prehistoric trend

Keep your scary stories in order with Dinosauria Bookends, €460 for 2,
Keep your scary stories in order with Dinosauria Bookends, €460 for 2,

Kirstie McDermott

One of the highest-grossing films of all time, 1993's Jurassic Park was a mega blockbuster, instantly hard-wiring a love of dino-ephemera into Generation X. It also happens to be my favourite film of, well, ever.

The 2015 and 2018 Jurassic World reboots not only re-ignited the flame among the original fan-dom but spawned a whole new generation of dino-obsessed fans. And that has led to a small but growing trend in creatively cretaceous decor.

Siobhan Lam, the founder and owner of interiors store April and the Bear ( - which has just relocated to new, spacious premises in Rathmines - was ahead of the curve, with a wall-mounted T. rex for sale several years ago.

"My brother Vincent and I collaborated together about four years ago to create our bespoke dinosaur head wall mount," she says. "Vincent is a model maker and has always had a fondness for dinosaurs, and I wanted to create something unusual and distinctly different, and so we created this singular savage beauty." Entirely designed by hand, the head is sculpted, moulded, cast and painted in Co Kildare, with each piece made to order for €495.

For Lam, who is in her 30s, the dino spark came from childhood. "The discovery that dinosaurs existed was so exciting, and I definitely think that a lot of the dinosaur decor we are finding now is designers reminiscing about their childhood, how they felt at that time and trying to recreate that feeling with these beautiful products for the home."

For Divine Savages, a London-based maximalist wallpaper and accessories brand, the inspiration for its Prehistoria collection in muted shades of charcoal, black and grey, is decidedly grown-up. While at House of Hackney, the celebrated brand co-founded by Irish woman Frieda Gormley, dinosaurs similarly rule for summer 2019. Its new wallpaper line is Dinosauria, described as "a tribute to the long extinct but endlessly fascinating dinosaur".

Witty and pretty, as are all its designs, this pattern, which comes in three shades, will look as at home in a salon as it will in a downstairs loo - the current default location for a bonkers wallpaper print.

The message is that dino decor has grown up. No longer relegated to Barney-style comic illustrations or cheesy nightlights, it has come into its own. So how should you treat the tyrannosaur in your own home?

"I think a 'dash of difference' works in any interior," says Lam, "but I do think that dinosaur-inspired decor works particularly well in a contemporary or eclectic space - you want the prehistoric piece to stand out, so I suggest arranging it somewhere where its unique nature can be appreciated unchallenged," she says.

That might mean a wall of statement stegosaurus wallpaper where the light naturally hits in a room, which will attract attention. Attract attention with a light fitting; wall-mount Lam's T. rex on to a contrasting wall colour or artfully arrange some dino figurines on a shelf where the eye will naturally be drawn. Whatever you do, take a walk on the wild side.

Kirstie McDermott is editorial director of 'House and Home' magazine

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