Ahead of the game: award-winning sports museum printeriors
Troy Cavanagh at ImageBox Group describes the firm’s award-winning refurbishment of the Australian Sports Museum.
ImageBox Group in Australia won a FESPA Silver Award in the Printeriors category for its refurbishment of the Australian Sports Museum, located in Melbourne Cricket Ground. The project was designed in Illustrator and InDesign and printed using a Vutek LX3 Pro printer onto more than 300 3mm Concreate panels in a wide range of sizes and designs. We spoke to Sales and Project Manager Troy Cavanagh about the challenges of working in the museums space.
Tell us about you and ImageBox Group.
I have vast experience and enthusiasm for museum and exhibition projects. These projects are typically built and designed to the highest of standards in their own industry and are executed with a great amount of pride when complete.
ImageBox Group has been operating for over 35 years; for most of that time our production facilities have been based in South Melbourne, Victoria. The company services display and exhibition, retail, branding and event sectors within Melbourne and across Australia and New Zealand.
We have produced work for an extensive list of global retail brands, major events such as the Australian Open and Commonwealth Games, and major tourist attractions including the Australian War Memorial.
What was the brief, and what were you attempting to achieve with the work?
ImageBox was heavily involved in the original build of the Australian Sports Museum in 2008. This year, it required a complete redesign, including new branding, wayfinding graphics labels and material finishes. At the same time, a high level of print technique and know-how were needed to achieve the design outcomes set in place by the designers and client.
How were you inspired to do the work?
When you are working with high-end material finishes, you have to meet high expectations. It raises your own standards and the production team’s standards.
How long did you have to complete the project?
A project of this nature requires about six months of project management, finished art design and production work. As the project draws closer to the end of completion, it is a day-to-day proposition with being on-site and installing and finishing the last-minute items. The printed graphics and signage are the last items to go in, as the site needs to be in the cleaning phase. You are also navigating around completing some graphic items earlier as other trades need to complete their works after you.
What are the benefits of the material choices you made?
We required materials designed to last up to or more than 10 years in some cases. It was important that materials were compatible with the museums’ archival standards, as the items on display have a significant amount of historical importance. To add to that complexity, the products needed to be ‘child friendly’ – everything was done to ensure printed products would endure schoolchildren touching and interacting with them.
We used a Vutek GS LED printer and Dreamscape wallpaper for the main wall graphic areas. The wallpaper is fire-rated and glued to the wall, therefore negating adhesive failure. To give a high-quality result, panelling joins in the wall graphic were trimmed flush to give a neat, clean finish.
We used another wall-cladding material called Concreate for the internal walls of the museum. The colour finish was designed to replicate the exterior concrete finish of the Melbourne Cricket Ground outside.
Finally, colour consistency was paramount throughout this project. Wayfinding signage within the museum space was colour-themed across the different display areas. 2 Pak spray colours needed to match the printed colour, and vice versa. These colours were all designed to complement the wall and floor colours and showcase displays.
What were the key challenges involved in the project relating to technology, materials, installation, design and sustainability?
- Colour consistency
Maintaining colour consistency across multiple print products and output devices. An extreme amount of effort went into matching colours at the beginning of the project, with countless samples and the narrowing down of the right colour to gain approval from the stakeholders of the project. Once approved, we had to maintain that consistency through the various output devices and paint mixing.
- Concreate panels
The second challenge was the Concreate panels. We were reliant on the timing of the shopfitter to provide the panels, pre-cut and labelled accordingly. Each panel was measured, and this information was passed onto the digital team who could then translate that information into the images, including spacing between panels. We would then provide digital proofs to the client for approval and, in some cases, what we had originally drafted as an image would need to be reworked and repositioned to ensure we got the most visually appealing image working with the layout. Once approved, each panel was printed individually and returned to site. These panels were highly fragile, so had to be handled very carefully. Having your hand in the wrong position on the panel would cause it to snap under its own weight. Full credit goes to our printer operator Steph, who understood the complexity of this material.
How did you overcome those challenges?
As the project ended, and with the subsequent delays of other trades, we undertook the final installation of the Concreate panels with our skilled installers, using specific glues needed to
bond these panels to the wall surface.
How many people were involved in the project?
The entire ImageBox team has a touchpoint during a project of this magnitude. It requires a great team to put it all together, especially when the project finishes. Our specialist installers have the patience and experience of finishing off a job to the highest quality. The whole team pulled off a showcase project thanks to their experience.
What's your favourite aspect of the product?
The biggest reward is the end result – the pride taken to pull off a magnificent finished product across a multitude of print products and production methods.
What do you think you offer to clients that competitors don’t?
ImageBox Group’s extensive experience and history within the museum and exhibition sector. We understand what it takes to produce a museum space of this size; we know that it’s very important to work and communicate with a wide range of stakeholders to complete the project on time.
In addition, we have high-quality staff and resources on hand to complete a project of this magnitude to the exceptional quality of work that is needed.
What does winning the award mean to ImageBox?
This is the first time ImageBox has submitted an entry to the FESPA Awards, so being shortlisted and winning an award is a great achievement in the history of our company. Being able to showcase an international award is a credit to the hard work of our staff across all departments who put in a magnificent effort every day for each of our clients.
The FESPA Awards will return in 2025 – for more information please visit here.
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