This featured project comes to us from IDWraps.com of Slatington, Pennsylvania, a company that specializes in vehicle wraps but also does work in the architectural realm.
The company was contracted by a start-up educational children’s center called ImagiNation, which wanted to create a miniature, virtual city inside the 7,000-square-foot facility. The “community” the owners had in mind would essentially serve as a kid-size city offering things that adults may encounter on a daily basis, such as a post office, a warehouse and a grocery store. The kids could use these environments to role-play.
“For our team, this project had to be started up from scratch,” says IDWraps’ Malcolm Gieske. “To have the proper youthful look, all design elements needed to be illustrated. This was great for us, in terms of file management for a project this size. Even though we were printing a few thousand square feet of materials, the vector files remained small in size and easy to process. This is always preferred over the usual raster project which may have files that are a few gigs in size, and less efficient to process. The creative process included sketching 7 unique mini building sections such as a grocery store, warehouse, TV station, medical center, fire station, and my personal favorite: the Ice Cream Laboratory.”
The company chose Presto Tex #444 adhesive-backed textile film, which Gieske notes exhibits “an unusually high scratch resistance in a non-laminated product,” due to the ink “soaking” into the material. The film was printed on an HP360 Latex printer.
“The prints were oriented for vertical overlaps, on a mix of 54” and 60” wide media,” Gieske says. “The vertical panel orientation allows for a more efficient installation process. Installers may set up a top hinge and work downward. Textile films tend to be very dimensionally stable, meaning they do not stretch much as they are applied. This comes in very handy when lining up tall panels. On our project, they happened to be over 13 feet tall each.
“The other side to the dimensional stability is the challenges associated with corrections when installers get off track. These films do stretch very little when installing, so it is important to have solid registration before panel application is initiated.”
In terms of exterior graphics, Gieske says he saved the start-up business a bit of money by using the lightbox that was already there, and complemented it with the use of 3M IJ480MC film applied on the building’s cinder block surface. The windows were covered with Contra Vision perforated film to tie the entire front façade together.
Gieske says that his company has taken to using adhesive-backed textile wall films, as opposed to vinyl, as its “go-to” choice for many of its interior and exterior architectural projects.