Style bible seeks to 'regain its soul'

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The Independent Online

Wallpaper*, the influential style magazine that brought us retro chic and obscure Scandinavian design, is to launch a travel magazine in an attempt to regain its "soul".

Eighteen months after Wallpaper*'s founder, Tyler Brûlé, left, the magazine is to bring out its first brand extension. It will be a test of whether it can still produce something original and exciting.

Called Navigator*, the new publication will come out twice a year and feature 10 cities in each issue. It is aimed at people taking short city breaks or design-conscious business travellers. The first issue will be available at the end of this week.

Mr Brûlé left Wallpaper* when IPC, the magazine publisher, took control. Much of his team followed. Paul Jarvis, founder of the Radical Brand Futures consultancy, said: "Wallpaper* was just Tyler. He has a brilliant, rarefied view of the world, mostly seen through first-class lounges. It was unbelievably camp and tongue-in-cheek."

Some believe that under IPC ownership, Wallpaper* has become less coherent and more bland. Now it assumes much less knowledge in its readers in an effort to be more accessible.

So, will the new publication have shades of Condé Nast Traveller, just as some now accuse Wallpaper* of looking more like World of Interiors? "Wallpaper* has become a lot more pedestrian," Mr Jarvis said. "It has lost soul." Wallpaper* now sells a steady 110,000, down on the 130,000-plus under Mr Brûlé.

But the changes to the magazine are welcomed by some. Tiger Savage, head of art at M&C Saatchi, said: "It has evolved and it should have. It is much more human now. It was too designed in the past."