Wide-format graphics are increasingly being worked into the architecture of interior spaces to enhance, divide or ‘theme’ a given area.
The primary appeal of wide-format graphics for clients is the opportunity to completely customize their environment. People feel better when they are in an esthetically pleasing setting, rather than surrounded by flat, featureless backgrounds. This is one reason for creating the right esthetics for a corporate space; another is branding, by theming a space to make it uniquely identifiable.
Here are some ideas to enhance your space:
Printed graphics and architectural-finish films have become particularly fashionable in open-concept corporate offices, where there may be no other physical definition of the distinction, for example, between an individual’s workspace and a meeting room. In such instances, a simple change of colour or style through window graphics can be used to signify the separation of different areas.
Vancouver-based Stockhouse Publishing is one of the companies to catch on to this trend. In 2012, a series of new wall and window films were integrated into the company’s offices, tied together with a common colour scheme. The project used dimensional lettering to clearly distinguish the entrance area. This added a level of style and sophistication to the space, with the letters applied to a background of Stockhouse’s Pantone branding colours.
3M Canada’s Clear View, a highly transparent window film, was treated with Stockhouse’s Pantone orange brand colour and applied to the meeting room window. This helped provide privacy for groups using the space, while also ensuring a consistent theme throughout the offices. Although the film is hard-wearing, one key benefit of installing it is it can be easily removed later if it is no longer required or if the company decides to change its colour scheme.
The colour scheme adopted for the entrance differed from that in the office area, where a ‘ticker tape’ graphic was applied across the ceiling and onto a far window’s glass panel. By using this combination of wall and window treatments, Stockhouse’s new interior design scheme can better communicate the company’s brand in an open and warm way, enhancing a space that was previously unremarkable. The rooms even feels larger now that they are visually connected, with common colours tying them together.
Wall Murals and Architectural Film Finishes
An interior space—large or small—can be visually enhanced with wall murals to add interest, colour and even a greater sense of height and depth through optical illusions. By injecting personality into a tired, uninspiring space, a mural is an instant eye-catcher that can take a room from bland to spectacular.
Printed onto wall-graphic substrates and complemented by architectural finishes, wall murals can feature intricate and dramatic design schemes. Ampco Grafix recently transformed the entrance to a ColyVan Pacific apartment complex in North Vancouver using mural graphics and Di-Noc architectural-finish vinyl films with Comply adhesive for a wood effect. These types of films can help renew a building without costly renovations. They are popular in the construction and interior design communities because they closely approximate the appearance of metallic or natural materials, like wood and stone, but at a lower cost. They are also perceived as a ‘green’ alternative to using natural resources.
Window Film Options
In some buildings, companies use windows as a canvas because they want to mask unsightly and/or distracting views. A long wall with several windows can even be covered entirely with a single treatment, rather than wrapping each window individually. The effect could make the wall appear larger. Such was the case for a Vancouver-based call centre, which used graphics to enhance a space and provide an added sense of depth.
Other reasons to apply graphic panels to windows include controlling how much light enters throughout the work day and preventing outsiders looking in with a partial or complete ‘privacy screen.’ With gradation effects, it is even possible to tailor the amount of transparency along different parts of a window’s surface, which can help naturally light a room without letting direct glare affect staff. Of course, window films are also an easy way to add a splash of colour to a room. They are easily changed out to serve as seasonal décor or simply to change the ‘mood’ of the room.
There are a wide variety of window films available today to achieve different effects. Some are optimized for printing graphic elements. Others are designed specifically to block ultraviolet (UV) rays or ensure privacy. Still others are decorative film finishes, with patterns that capture the look of etched, cut, frosted, sandblasted or textured glass to a realistic degree, but at a fraction of the price. 3M’s Fasara products are examples of this type of film.
In some cases, full-colour graphics are printed onto a transparent film, so as to divide spaces with images while still letting people see out. This is one of the best ways to make a confined space feel open and larger than it actually is.
Durable, weather-resistant materials can be installed on the outside surfaces of a building’s windows, but it is often easier to apply graphics on the interior surfaces, whether using full-colour panels, transparent films, die-cut or computer-cut graphics, double-sided films or perforated vinyl – The process and material of choice will depend on the client’s needs.
The possibilities are nearly endless today for enhancing, dividing or unifying spaces with graphics, but what specifically can be printed and installed will correspond to what the customer is looking for.
For further information or advice, talk to one of our experts at 604 472 3800 or 1-800-663-5482
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