The South African design and interior decorating industry now have easy, on-demand access to the latest trend in interior design: Printeriors.
Printeriors - or printed interiors - refers to everything from custom wallpapers and murals, digitally printed textiles, wall art, printing on woods and metal to ceramic tiles, glass and Perspex. All printed digitally with the latest technologies available.
Craig Whyte, CEO of digital printing specialists ArtLab, says some hotels in Europe now digitally print entire hotel room interiors. "Globally, designers are taking the Printerior trend to mainstream use by leveraging the advances in digital textile printing to create bespoke furniture coverings, cushions, wall coverings, flooring, drapes, table tops, even windows and mirrors, all on-demand and with no minimum meterage. With this technology now arriving on our shores, we expect to see the local design community experiment with the Printeriors concept to create fresh new, authentic, and unique designs."
According Whyte, the growth of Printeriors globally is driven by three key trends:
From Mass Production to Mass Customisation
"Consumers are seeking unique items that can add an air of authenticity to their living and work spaces. While most of South Africa's textile printing is still conducted at large scale in China, the arrival of new digital textile printing technology lowers the barrier to entry for local textile manufacturers by enabling unique on-demand prints without the huge minimum volume characterising the mass-produced Chinese options," explains Whyte. “Essentially, the new digital printing technology enables medium and short-run printing without the major start-up costs, which opens the market to smaller new players as well as enabling the more established players to experiment with designs, fabrics and colours in an affordable and accessible way. And with the new tech enabling printing on any kind of material, from natural and synthetic fabrics to wood, steel and even glass, designers are limited only by their imagination.”
New Wall Covering Sets a Trend
Key advances in technical wall coverings used for interior design applications have also unlocked new opportunities for designers and architects. "New developments in materials for Printerior applications are opening up exciting new opportunities for innovation in interior designs. A new material called Airtex out of Germany is a superb new wall covering that can be printed and applied in one piece. Printing on 3.2m-wide rolls allows designers to cover entire walls in one drop. “Airtex is a tear proof fabric based wall covering printed with UV cured resin inks that are extremely durable. The one-piece factor makes for easy installation and removal, and gives a seamless high quality look and feel. It is most certainly the wallcovering choice of the future," says Whyte.
The textile printing market is experiencing a major shakeup with the rapidly developing technology of digital textile printing. With no minimums or expensive plate, screen or drum preparation, digital textile printing opens a whole new horizon of opportunities. With extremely fast turnarounds, no minimums, and 17 million colours at a push of a button, digital textile printing is set to revitalise the industry in SA as it is doing abroad. “Artlab has kickstarted dozens of small producers in the CMT market who were previously excluded from the textile finishing market because of large minimum orders, commitment and expense. Even larger producers and homeware stores are taking advantage of not having to hold large amounts of pre-printed stock,” says Whyte. “No waste or unsold stock with print on demand means huge savings for the industry and the environment.” He adds that consumers are highly eco-conscious, preferring products that are durable and don't become landfill after a season or two. "Digital printing eliminates much of the environmentally damaging run-off from traditional pigment dyes, providing similar quality but with a much lower impact on the environment. It's a really attractive value proposition for designers."
For more information about printeriors and digital textile printing, please visit www.artlab.co.za