See how Big Brothers Big Sisters, Atomic Dust and SwiftGoBig came together for the betterment of St. Louis
Wall murals have a way of transforming ordinary spaces into extraordinary destinations. They oftentimes set a mood, tell a story and add vibrancy for everyone who passes by. When a request came through to assist the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization on a groundbreaking new endeavor to do this we jumped at the chance.
Big Brothers Big Sisters newest initiative is called Anew. It’s a chance to bring their mission to more people than ever before. it’s also a chance to make St. Louis better and stronger than ever. That’s the idea behind Anew rooftop event space and street-side test kitchen. Two distinct spaces in the heart of St. Louis’ Grand Center. Spaces where everyone and anyone can meet, create and share. And above all, build relationships. .
I thought it might be fun to show a timeline of photos along with some background of how projects like these come to life. As with all success stories it begins with a vision. An idea of not what is but what can be. That is the magic part. In this case St. Louis based Atomic Dust provided the inspiration and we had the fun part of bringing it to life and making it real. With advancements in design, materials and installation techniques it is more accessible now than ever before. Hopefully the photos tell the story and below are some key points to consider should you want to do the same.
Selecting the Right Material
Basically there are two main choices to make. Is there a worry it might need to get wiped down like a restaurant would experience? If so then we image on a pressure sensitive vinyl and add a protective overlaminate (gloss, luster or matte). If you prefer the wall covering surface have a texture which looks a bit more elegant then our textured fabric wall coverings are the way to go.
Wall Surface Prep
The best possible finish for walls would be high gloss- NON LOW VOC paint. This is the best possible paint surface for wall graphics allowing proper adhesion. After painting allow 30-45 days for the paint to fully dry and cure (LOW VOC paint has an odor release agent that can cause troubles for adhesives). Smooth finishes make for smooth installs. What to do when the above directions are not followed and it is too late. If you use a Zinser primer or another acceptable primer to cover the walls you can go back the next day for installing. With this primer, it only needs to dry for a very short period of time (30 – 45 minutes).
Measure Twice and Cut Once.
Getting the measurements right is crucial. Once art is submitted and you receive a proof back check it closely. There is nothing worse than installing a graphic and coming up short or being off on a critical element. Also make sure everyone is clear where the starting point is on each wall. We always image with a 1” overlap starting in one direction and moving to the other. Get this wrong and again you have a mess. Working from drawings because the space has not been built yet? Then rough comps for starters but don’t go to final prepess till live measurements are taken and confirmed. Drawings don’t lie, they just sometimes don’t measure out exactly to the end result.
Have the Right Installer for the Job
Some applications work great for the do it yourself crowd. Other times it is better to leave the installation to the folks who do it for a living. There are lots of difference making tricks of the trade such as special trimming and pressure tools, using heat assist devices and overall knowledge of knowing what not to do. Installation is the last mile and any failure there is a mess because it is usually in front of an audience and not easy to fix.