The iconic blue IKEA FRAKTA bag is a familiar sight to many of us, but how often do you see one that is sixty-two feet tall? With help from Kavalan, Embrace Building Wraps has brought that unique concept to life in London’s Oxford Circus. Such a colossal project was unsurprisingly months in the making, with every detail meticulously planned and the Kavalan PVC-free banner materials themselves tested rigorously to ensure a flawless advertising application was in the bag.
Embrace Building Wraps has been operational for more than a decade, offering a 360 comprehensive project management service for digitally printed graphics, encapsulating scaffolding, building facades, module building, site welfare facilities, and construction site perimeter holdings.
“This is our ninth and biggest project using Kavalan,” explains Greg Forster, Managing Director, Embrace Building Wraps. “We were the first company to use Kavalan and concluded our own in-house testing on print quality to ensure the material delivers the same visual appearance and manufacturing process with heat and vibration welding.”
How did the team pull off this project that was crowned ‘Ad of the Day’ by The Drum?
“Seven months in the planning from conception through to delivery, it’s 2,878 square metres of printed scaffold wraps on Kavalan Sunlight Weldable,” says Forster. “That’s about the equivalent of forty-four double-decker buses across three elevations. We’ve got five frames carrying a silhouette-lined drawing of the building itself created by Embrace, and printed wraps that replicate a giant iconic blue FRAKTA bag with 3D handles.
“The six wraps in total are about 400 square metres in size, and the handles are 32 metres long and 15 metres long. I’m sure you’ll agree the visual outcome is pretty stunning!”
So, what were Kavalan’s PVC-free banner material benefits that made it the right fit for this extraordinary install?
“We carried out numerous on and offsite print tests on solid PVC and mesh PVC, but at the end of the day, Kavalan Sunlight Weldable won the day,” explains Forster. “It performs well under tension, the print is bang on, [and] the tiles and dragon tails weld nicely. To ensure the structural integrity of the material, we [conducted] pull tests to ensure that the material is robust. It’s a far lighter material [than traditional PVC], so with a combined weight of 1150kg, so it’s about the same weight of a mini car vs 1725 kg. So, the fact that it is 33 percent lighter helped on the engineers’ calculations and with lifting into position.
“Kavalan withstands up to 774 kg on average, suitable for the considerable stresses Mother Nature throws at our bespoke installs over the four seasons.
“Also what is very key these days is fire rating. Now we know the substrate has a TS62, NFP, EN and DIN certifications. We also sent the material away to a UKAS-certificated facility in the UK, and that passed a BS 5867 type B test.”
Forster and the team at Embrace Building Wraps are true trailblazers, not just with their cutting-edge large-scale projects but on the sustainability front too.
“We lead the field when it comes to finding new products to work with,” says Forster. “We were the first to test, offer to our clients and regularly utilize an eco-responsible material PVC-free Kavalan Sunlight Weldable polyester-based textile that has the same look, feel, and strength of traditional PVC banners but with none of its eco-malignance.
“We are continuing our ongoing quest to move away from traditional PVC products wherever possible, minimising and offsetting any negative environmental impact when doing business.”