ACI Design Inc., of Indian Trail, North Carolina, was hired by 3A Composites USA to create and install a varied array of graphic elements to decorate its lobby, business offices, and product showroom shortly after the company moved its headquarters to Davidson, North Carolina.
“Executives at 3A Composites wanted to demonstrate the company’s materials in any number of capacities including office and lobby décor as well as showroom graphics,” said Dain Richie, partner/designer, ACI Design. “They wanted to show the scope and range and creative possibilities of these materials utilizing dimensional fabrication and digitally printed graphics.”
3A Composites USA specializes in the manufacturing of leading substrates for the display and graphics, framing, and architectural markets in the Americas. As the manufacturer of FOME-COR®, the original foam-centered board, the company traces its roots to the graphic display industry with that ground-breaking product’s introduction to this market segment more than forty years ago. Today the 3A Composites USA lines of industry leading brands include: FOME-COR®, SINTRA®, GATOR®, DISPA®, DIBOND®, LUMEX® G, and ALUCOBOND® PLUS.
As a full-service design and production studio, ACI Design was more than familiar with 3A Composites’ well-known products lines, often turning to the company’s rigid substrates to create trade show exhibits, displays, corporate environments, museum exhibits and large-format graphics for clients.
“We frequently turn to 3A Composites’ rigid substrates,” said Richie. “We create a lot of 3-D logos for trade show booths as well as custom printed panels for installation within exhibit systems. Marketing graphics are constantly being updated. SINTRA is always popular and a great substrate for these design elements because it prints so well and is easy to work with. It’s manufactured in the United States and is readily available.”
ACI Design utilized several leading rigid substrate brands from 3A Composites’ DIBOND, SINTRA, FOME-COR, and GATOR Collections, as well as ALUCOBOND PLUS, to create graphic displays for the company’s headquarters. Graphics were digitally direct printed with an AGFA Anapurna flatbed printer and AGFA UV-curable inks.
ACI Design graphically highlighted and visually demonstrated material performance and fabrication techniques that can be utilized with FOME-COR, GATOR, SINTRA, and DIBOND in a three-dimensional graphic created with these rigid substrates to cover a 23-foot-wide-by-9-foot-tall wall space in the headquarters’ showroom.
The background base layer of this large-scale graphic features a black-and-white image of clouds printed with white ink on 3mm Black SINTRA and screwed to the wall. “We used the clouds in black and white to add texture to the display,” said Richie.
Covering the clouds is a wedge-shaped shadow box created from 3mm DIBOND in Ultramarine Blue Gloss that narrows horizontally and becomes thinner as the viewer moves to the right of the presentation. “We laid this big picture frame out in CAD software and used a kerf technique to cut a groove to bend the material to this shape,” said Richie.
An additional rectangular shadow box created from 3mm DIBOND in Jet Black Gloss—and featuring circular cutouts to expose LED lighting—is positioned within the wedge to highlight product presentations printed on 3/16-inch GATORFOAM with Bright White Facers/White Foam. “The lighting was used to ensure that these graphics popped off the wall,” said Richie.
ACI Design turned to DIBOND to create custom mounting studs and supports for this large-scale display.
“The whole point of this display was to demonstrate all of the ways you can fabricate 3A Composites’ rigid substrates and to draw attention to those techniques with words,” said Richie.
Conference Room Map
ACI Design utilized a multitude of foam-centered board products from 3A Composites’ FOME-COR Collection to create a dimensionally layered map highlighting the company’s worldwide locations for display in the headquarters’ conference room.
The eight-by-four-foot map presentation is mounted to a common base of 3mm Bright White SINTRA and features built-in square tiles of the company’s foam-centered boards.
ACI Design decorated a forty-two-foot-long hallway with images of project applications created with rigid substrates from the FOME-COR, GATOR, SINTRA, and DIBOND Collections as well as ALUCOBOND PLUS.
ACI Design created a series of interlocking open picture frames for displaying application photos from 3mm SINTRA in Dark Blue to produce “a museum-like timeline effect,” according to Richie.
Photos were digitally direct printed to 3mm Bright White SINTRA.
Product headers were fabricated from 3mm DIBOND in BUTLERFINISH® Copper layered with product names routed from 3mm Bright White SINTRA.
The hallway display features more than 800 components that were installed with magnets to allow for easy updating.
A total of thirty-eight project application images were printed on 3mm Bright White SINTRA to display in pairs in nineteen business offices.
ACI Design created custom frames from 4mm ALUCOBOND PLUS in Rustic Walnut from The Natural Collection Woodgrain Series.
Both vertical and horizontal frames were created with ALUCOBOND PLUS, which was grooved to accommodate images that can be easily updated.
The custom frames were mounted to the wall with decorative aluminum standoffs.
ACI Design created two LED back-lit box designs with 3mm DIBOND to display the 3A Composites’ logo in the headquarters’ lobby entrance.
“We basically used a box approach folding it out of DIBOND,” said Richie. “The inner face is white with a lid that goes over it made out of blue DIBOND.”
Richie said he was “ecstatic” with the overall look of the completed office décor project.
“It was such a fun project to complete with 3A Composites’ substrates,” said Richie. “It was a wonderful opportunity to create a custom design and deliver it from engineering through installation.”