You can’t simply defrost and wash down the walls of a business like that, with hundreds of kids coming through every day. We needed to work through the cold, and around the businesses schedule. This essentially ruled out the use of vinyl, luckily being New Zealand’s largest magnetic company, we had the means to produce our own specialty magnetic media SignMag, the thickest and strongest grade available for roll to roll printing – without the need of an adjustable head height. And just like that, we were up for the challenge – and what would become what is probably the world’s largest fridge magnet.
With loosely accurate building plans and an average wall height vs. snow depth, we went to work laying out a rough concept based on various image libraries available to us. One unforeseen roadblock was keeping a horizon line visible no matter how high you went up the slope. We used a mixture of background and foreground focused imagery to shift the horizon line without it being obvious. The faux snowline added at the base matched the changing pitch of the slope to seamlessly join the hundreds of images together – as if they all belonged to the same mountain.
What eventuated was a seamless 360 degree image that wrapped all four corners of the ski field, from a mountain peak view at the very top, sloping down to a ski field below, hiding the restaurant windows in a timber hut style surround as if it were a natural part of a mountain ski field. With a few minor tweaks, Snow Planet loved the concept.
With Snowplanet loving the concept with only minor tweaks, we ordered in an extra printer to prepare for the 6000 metres of print. In the meantime, we were using terabytes of data generating flawless high resolution imagery in 10m by 12m sections, working building joist to building joist as a break point.
It was so much data, we had to process files locally, backing up every hour to avoid grinding our other work to a halt – or having a catastrophic loss of days of design. After the first month of design, we began slicing our imagery, constantly thinking about areas where we could save production and installation time.
Being a thick magnetic film, we didn’t have to worry about printing skew as the media would self-align with it’s magnetic poles. So once we convinced our HP Latex machines to print edge to edge, we eliminated the need for hand trimming each 10m length saving hundreds of hours of finishing time, and after our initial tests, it was a flawless success with drops lining up perfectly.
Our team endured 4 months of short but freezing days for installation, spending the majority of that time on scaffolding and a specialised cherry picker suitable for the job.
What resulted was a stunning internal wall wrap at one of Auckland’s most popular attractions, that we couldn’t believe we had designed, made, and installed in it’s entirety ourselves.