Revamp, don’t replace

Lindsay Appleton of William Smith Group looks at how vinyl wrapping can enhance interior designs using architectural finishes, as part of the trend to reuse and recover furniture on sustainability grounds, rather than rip out and replace

The trend for upcycling shows no sign of abating; clients are increasingly looking to upgrade their interiors on a budget, and without the upheaval of ripping out and replacing furniture.

Such an approach also taps into the trend for sustainability that continues to be big news; it is better for the environment for venues to make use of what they already have and give it a new lease of life, rather than replacing it wholesale and sending old furniture and fittings to landfill.

This is where vinyl wrapping processes come into their own, providing a fresh new look, in a multitude of styles, quickly and easily. Wrapping is a simple approach – an existing surface is covered with a self-adhesive film. Architectural finishes are highly engineered, durable films, designed to look and feel like real-life materials. The films are applied with heat, by skilled installers, to provide a realistic, hardwearing finish. This allows clients to create bespoke furniture using less expensive materials, wrapping them to look like authentic marble, wood or concrete. With thousands of finishes available, the possibilities are vast.

Emerging markets

Vinyl wrapping has taken markets in Japan and the US by storm, and is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, marking a shift from the traditional model of ripping out and replacing interiors.

One of the reasons behind its success is down to firms’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approaches, and a shift in attitude toward using sustainable solutions and methods within the construction sector.

Wrapping meets the needs of the industry to boost their CSR activity; covering doors instead of replacing them and producing waste is a powerful statement for any stakeholders.

Diverse applications

Architectural films can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including walls, lifts, doors and furniture. Such films are conformable for 3D applications, meaning their use is not limited to flat surfaces. Almost any surface can be wrapped, making films ideal for commercial environments. What’s more, they can even be applied over existing substrates.

As the surface finishes are conformable, they can be applied to curved structures to create eye-catching designs. This provides a key advantage over laminates that require edge banding, whereas films offer the opportunity to wrap fully over edges to completely seal them.

Environmental benefits

On average, it costs seven times more to rip out and replace interiors. Refurbishment with architectural films is a way to upcycle existing fixtures and fittings, rather than sending them to landfill.

It’s a budget-friendly option for architects when costs are being squeezed, allowing businesses to refresh a venue more frequently or at a lower cost. Wrapping is also highly durable – lasting for an average of 12 years on interior surfaces – meaning it can work out more cost effective over the lifetime of the product, when compared to fabric, paint or veneer.

Less day-to-day disruption

Recovering with vinyl’s also easier for businesses, as vinyls are applied insitu, with no noise, mess or waste – allowing the premises to stay open throughout. Little equipment is needed, with minimal prep, meaning less downtime and inconvenience.

All finishes are fire tested and meet building regulations. And as the product is a PVC solution, it is fully water and heat resistant, as well as and hygienic, all of which are important in high-traffic venues such as gyms, bars and restaurants.

Keeping up with trends

With thousands of designs to choose from, architectural films are fast becoming the go-to solution for venues such as hotels when managers want a makeover.

With texture set to be one of the key looks for 2020, along with statement ceilings, wrapping offers a sustainable, easy-to-use way to tap into the latest trends with minimal disruption.

Virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, wraps can recreate the look and feel of concrete, marble, stone, metal, wood or solid colour effects, using over 1,000 patterns and finishes.

With the industrial trend set to continue into 2020, businesses can obtain the aesthetic using a concrete wrap on walls and ceilings to provide a robust, gritty feel. Alternatively, the great outdoors can be brought inside with the dry wood collection from 3M DI-NOC architectural finishes, which looks and feels like the real deal – at a fraction of the cost.

With a world of possibilities at their fingertips, companies looking to reduce costs and improve their sustainability would be wise to look at upcycling using self-adhesive finishes to refresh spaces with minimal disruption to the business.

Lindsay Appleton is marketing manager for Architextural, at William Smith Group