Chatham large format printer PressOn has covered many things with inkjet print, Waterloo Station, London’s black cabs and HMS President included. That list now includes restaurants and bars with wallpaper created by South African design Robin Sprong.
The company has decided to aim at interior designers rather than try to go directly to the public via an online store. “We want to build relationships with these people,” says joint managing director Nigel Webster. “We want to educate them to know that they don’t have to have such and such a pattern but can have anything they want.
“There are lots of people doing web to print, but that is not our market. We want to address the middle to higher end of residential and commercial property.”
It has recently completed a commission at Convent Garden restaurant Cinnamon Bazaar where Robin Sprong wallpaper was chosen by Design LSM for the interiors that straddle two floors and aim to invoke the experience of an Indian market. The Kaleidoscope Light design was used to cover 45m2 of ceiling and was printed on the company’s HP LX3500 using a pre woven PVC-free substrate.
While the margins on this type of job may be healthy, it is not an easy market to crack, Webster explains. “We are competing with well established and family run wallpaper providers that have teams of reps showing interior designers their wares on a daily basis. This is what we decided to target the niche and bespoke end of the market.”
It means learning the phraseology that exists in the interior design world, fighting for time in front of the designers. When that happens the conversation can spin off in all sorts of directions. For the most part they will not appreciate what is possible with digital printing.
It is also a slow burn. Even when the designer decides to use digitally printed wallpapers, this will be at the start of a project. It can be 18 months for a building to be erected and decoration is the last element to be finished he points out.
The company uses HP’s latex technology, everything printed to order and delivered the next day. It has the firepower to produce hundreds of metres of material a day Webster adds. “It means that there is no delay from ordering a design and having it delivered if that is how the customer wants it,” he says.
The choice of substrate is limited to those that PressOn has profiled, which means that from the hundreds of substrates available, the company sticks with a relative handful at two or three price points.
Each must meet standards for durability as well as for safety. “It is the same approach as we took when printing vinyls: we would only work with a limited number of them,” he says. “If we used anything that is available we would be forever profiling them.”
The finished rolls are clearly identified so there can be no mix up in apply the rolls in the correct sequence. Colour management skills are equally important. A commission might involve an extension to a previous project or might need to match an existing room.
The interiors of Bazaar restaurant in Convent Garden, including its ceiling, have been printed by PressOn. The company has chosen to work with designers in order to reduce the effort needed in marketing and to deliver a high quality product.