It didn’t take us long to settle into our new home in Hanover Park, and honestly, it’s everything we hoped for. The new layout is much more efficient, which is a good thing, because we’ve never been busier. However, one matter desperately needed to be addressed before the move – all those plain, white, empty walls staring back at us!
It would be like working in a big, blank canvas. Being graphic arts professionals, this was unacceptable…and impossible to ignore. It was time to call in the best large-format graphics company in the business for a consultation. Yup, we hired ourselves!
Fun and Function
The initial motivation was to make a fun place to work for our employees. (Fun is our middle name.) We also wanted designs that would infuse the atmosphere with some kind of reaction – such as stirring up creative juices in the design room, or creating a relaxed, calming effect in the café. Naturally, we wanted to show off a little and impress visitors with our expertise as well. We always stand by our product, and what better way to demonstrate that than by showing ER2 work living in a (very) busy environment.
With input from the Schellerer family as well as fellow designers, VP Alan Schellerer and Graphic Designer Dan Gray sat down to work on the broad visual concepts. “For the designer’s room we definitely wanted to have a lot of bold color that wouldn’t be seen anywhere else in the building,” Dan said. “The idea of doing a ‘pop art’ theme was first introduced with some street art elements. I saw the large walls and immediately thought ‘giant monster’.”
For the café, Alan had the idea of creating a peaceful, natural environment, an area where people could unwind. They looked at the walls and thought it’d be cool to create a birch forest. With these concepts in mind, Dan started putting together the final design.
Making It Happen
Time is always part of the challenge in any project. But the fact was, nothing could be moved in until the walls were done. (Yikes! No pressure.) Dan went through a lot of rough drafts and, as is often the case in the initial design phase, none were perfect. But he kept grinding away until he got a result he was really happy with. Of course, he still had his regular projects to work on during the day, so he had to squeeze any time he could for the project into slower moments, which were rare.
A “Wooded” Wonderland
For three of the café walls Dan created his own forest from scratch. This meant making many different trees so the image repetition wasn’t obvious. The result was much better than any stock photo could offer.
For the signature wall, Dan and the crew outdid themselves. It features a plank wall with the “CAFÉ” lettering over it. Even if you look closely, you can’t tell that the wall planks are not actually wood, but different thicknesses of PVC wrapped in 3M DI-NOC film. We’ve never seen this done before, so of course we had to give it a try! It’s a very unique application that looks like it just came from the sawmill. The CAFÉ letters are Chemetal®Satin Copper laminates mounted to 19mm PVC and stud mounted to the Di-Noc Plank wall.
“The café design wound up being difficult to execute, but it’s really my favorite part of the building,” he said. “Plus, it really shows the capabilities of our design department when faced with a custom project.”
Done in One
Both the café and design room walls were designed as one piece. We wanted to ensure that each side of the wall flowed into the next. This was especially important for the café, where we wanted to give the illusion that you’re in the middle of a forest.
Soon after, the printer paneled the pieces to wallpaper width for installation. It only took about a week for our install team to complete both walls. People were shocked to see how quickly everything went up. According to Dan, “The design is only as good as the final product and I’m constantly amazed at what our guys can do.”
Tough Client in the Mirror
“My worst client has always been me, but I think most people here demand a lot from themselves”, Dan said. “It’s our attention to detail and quality that’s always sets us apart from the rest.
“It might have been easy to take a shortcut here and there, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to look at these walls every day knowing that I didn’t do my best to make them look good.”
Just the Beginning
The fully-wrapped, custom-designed walls add a lot of energy to our new space. Everyone here enjoys having the kind of environment that is usually created just for our clients. And this is just the start of our wall covering graphics and projects. Busy season hit us hard this year, so we’re looking forward to doing a lot more when time allows.
Of course, our customers always come first. So, if you’re sick of bare walls staring at you, please contact us and we’ll be happy to add some magic to your workspace.