By Olivia Cahoon
Digitally printed wallpaper offers custom décor for homes, retail, office spaces, and entertainment businesses. Print providers take wallcoverings to the next level by investing in design knowledge and incorporating artwork to create unique, one-of-a-kind wallpaper and wallcoverings.
Doing so provides several benefits to print providers, including the ability to work closely with artists and museums, repeat jobs for changing exhibits, and maintaining a strong presence in the wallpaper industry.
Above: Flavor Paper worked with Flutter—an immersive art experience located in Los Angeles, CA—to create over 6,700 square feet of custom wallpaper designed by global artists. The wallpaper was printed with an HP Latex 3600 and incorporated invisible ink, scratch and sniff scents, and textured and reflective materials.
Creating Interior Stories
Flavor Paper is a wallpaper brand located in Brooklyn, NY. With hundreds of designs, the company is passionate about creating custom wallcoverings with unique properties. In business since 2003, Jon Sherman, founder and creative director, Flavor Paper, worked in real estate development when he discovered an out of business wallpaper company in OR. Intrigued by the prints and recognizing the market opportunity, Sherman obtained the business’ large silk screen presses and equipment—setting up shop in New Orleans, LA. Without any training, he rebranded the company in all facets, including engineering the print process, creating unconventional designs, growing the brand, and developing a loyal client base.
In 2009, Flavor Paper relocated to Brooklyn, NY when Sherman required a space accessible to clients. At the time, the business operated as a print and design studio. “With the creative energy of the city, and the numerous local and environmentally responsible resources for material, Flavor Paper boomed,” shares Sherman.
Flavor Paper now has a reputation for doing things differently—creating and printing wallpaper that flips the script on traditional wallcovering design. “We don’t believe in rules; we don’t seek out trends to inform our work,” explains Sherman. “We explore all boundaries of conventional wallcovering design, break them, and utilize unexpected materials, technology, and visuals to bring conversational works of art to walls across the globe.”
The studio works with adventurous residential and commercial design enthusiasts and partners with celebrated artists to explore unexpected visual narratives. “We believe in creating interior stories that are exciting and personal, and give clients the freedom to fully customize designs,” offers Sherman.
This includes working with pre-existing patterns as well as creating photorealistic mega murals. Clients and jobs range from the Museum of Art and Design for scratch and sniff wallpaper and glow in the dark graphics for the Haas Brothers, to custom patterns for leading hotels and restaurants around the world.
In 2013, the shop attracted the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and currently holds the rights to Warhol’s masterpieces—allowing it to bring his vision to life in the form of wallpaper. In addition, Flavor Paper’s designs are part of permanent museum collections at the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and the Brooklyn Museum.
While Flavor Paper’s wallcoverings are intended for indoor use, outdoor applications are a capability the company has experimented with and is further exploring.
Digital Achieves Beauty
Flavor Paper produces wallpaper with hand screened and digital printing technology. The volume of hand screened versus digital work varies. Flavor Paper produces designs utilizing both methods for special projects.
While the shop historically sees a 50/50 split, digital production is now growing faster due to the scale of commercial projects that require 54-inch material.
Using digital print technology allows Flavor Paper to dive into innovative territories that traditional silk screen does not touch, either due to cost or capability constraints. “The real beauty of digital wallpaper lies in the ultimate customizability with colors, shading, scale, and the dynamic photographic reality that can be achieved,” shares Sherman.
However, having unlimited possibilities can also be overwhelming for the brand’s clients. Therefore, Flavor Paper places a premium on the customer journey and works closely to advise and guide through the creative process—ensuring the project is a success from start to finish.
The HP Inc. Latex 3600 machine is Flavor Paper’s main production unit, although the shop plans to acquire a new UV machine with faster speeds and durability to handle commercial growth. “We went with HP Latex initially due to the smooth and matte qualities of the ink laydown,” explains Sherman.
The HP Latex 3600 handles production peaks up to 350,000 square feet per month to maximize uptime and overnight printing. It offers a 126-inch maximum print width and reaches speeds up to 1,290 square feet per hour.
A Caldera RIP manages the shop’s workflow. According to Sherman, it is user friendly and works well with the shop’s Apple-focused technology. A Fotoba trimmer and StarLam laminator from Marabu North America are used for projects that necessitate extra finishing steps.
With its digital technology, Flavor Paper sees increased demand for designs that are playful and immersive. Malleable mega murals are also trending, which the shop produces with digital printing. “These provide a personalized storytelling opportunity for clients to really shape and realize unique living and work environments,” adds Sherman.
The Flutter Experience
In 2019, Flutter in Los Angeles, CA approached Flavor Paper for a multi-media art exhibit. Flutter is an immersive art experience that works with artists to create playful spaces that entertain and engage. It is a permanent exhibit designed to showcase globally coveted artists in an exciting new format.
Flutter requested a variety of wallpaper for its multi-media art exhibit. The client wanted the graphics to be as immersive and dynamic as possible to thoroughly engage visitors.
Flavor Paper selected Type II vinyl, textured and smooth Mylar, and synthetic metallic fabrics. Pre-pasted eco-friendly options were also used. The graphics were printed on the HP Latex 3600.
The job went smoothly except for several delays due to artists’ needs, creative development, and construction permitting problems. Overall, Flavor Paper completed the project in six months.
In total, the studio created multiple wallpapers for Flutter—covering the majority of its 6,700 square foot space. The wallcoverings incorporated invisible inks, scratch and sniff scents, and textured and reflective materials.
The multi-media art exhibit featured various artistic, dynamic wallpaper zones for interactive experiences. Rob Roy Caesar and his team installed the wallcoverings. “There is an amazing variety of aesthetics in a single space, so it is a well-rounded tour of our capabilities,” offers Sherman.
Flutter is satisfied with the finished wallcoverings and is expected to work with Flavor Paper on future projects.
Flavor Paper is known for creating compelling conversational wallpaper. The company’s off-the-wall vision and passion for pushing the envelope results in elevated hand screened prints and large format digitally printed designs that are true works of art. As the company continues to innovate in the wallpaper industry, it looks to digital printing technology to offer clients the best wallcovering options available.
Mar2020, Digital Output