Pihlgren ja Ritola

Designs with a Heritage

Pihlgren & Ritola is a traditional wallpaper manufacturer with a one-of-a-kind, historical collection of wallpaper designs from the late 19th century to the 1970s. We've been in business since 1930, so craftsmanship and tradition are in our nature. We believe that creating a truly expressive, high-quality wallpaper takes a little effort, so for us, paint and paper is the way to go - as it’s been for decades.

Our collection features a wide selection of different wallpaper styles – classic, Revival-Style wallpapers, delicate mid-century modern designs, and colourful designs of the 1960s and 1970s. Most of our current collections have been in production continuously for decades, and are widely celebrated in contemporary and historical interiors alike. Our flagship collection, Designer Collection features, among others, exclusive designs by renowned Finnish designers of the 1950s, such as Annikki & Ilmari Tapiovaara, Birger Kaipiainen, and Lisa Johansson-Pape.

We print our highly unique papers with old, 1950s machinery, which employs an old surface-printing technique called rotary printing. The printing rollers are often handmade, original wooden rollers with brass embossing. Before every printing batch, our skilled craftsmen mix the colours by hand, using cellulose starch, chalk, water and pigments. The colours are poured to the machine's colour trays, which are placed evenly around the machine's cylinder. Colours are then transferred to the actual printing roller by a woollen flock, and from a roller onto the paper. 

The paper runs through the printing machine in continuous, even 2 km long strips. All the colours and patterns of one wallpaper design are printed within one twirl of the machine cylinder. The printing pace is quite slow: which gives us full control of the printing process. Afterwards, the freshly printed wallpaper is set to dry in long vertical folds, and then cut into 10,05 or 11,2 m long wallpaper rolls.

Nowadays our printing method is something of a speciality:  it demands a high level of focus and skill, handicraft and time - but there’s no compare to the variety and depth of the printing impression it makes. The vivid, hand-painted feel our wallpapers have, can only be achieved by this exceptional - yet traditional printing method.

Who are we?

Our story begins in Finland, in the year 1930 when two young men Fritjof Pihlgren and Matti Ritola bought an old surface printing press from Germany. They started with a small collection of 18 wallpapers, which were printed in a small workshop in Toijala. Times were hard, but in only seven years they were able to build a new manufacturing plant in a new location – this is where we still operate today. The golden years of post-war Finland meant a huge upturn for the wallpaper industry: the factory was expanded by half and was fully modernized to meet the standards of that time. Incidentally, the 1950s machinery turned out to be of great quality, since we still use it in our everyday printing process.

Today, Pihlgren & Ritola is a proud heir of this legacy. We are the only wallpaper manufacturer who employs the traditional surface-printing method in Finland – the last remaining of many. In our factory we keep history alive by reproducing and regenerating old wallpaper designs and printing practices, trusting that even in today's world there can be a slower, more thorough pace of making things. We believe that quality takes time, and only time can produce such exceptional results – genuine, carefully crafted wallpapers that are deeply rooted in the past and present.

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