A Flatbed for Na Pali
Digital Color One and an art buyer get creative.
The Client: Aaron Chang Gallery
The Players: Digital One Color (d1color.com)
The Tools: Durst Rho 600 Pictor, Zund L-2500 digital cutting system, Spartech Tuf-Glas
The Job: A stunning photo of clouds hugging Hawaii’s Na Pali coast mountains by photographer Aaron Chang struck a chord with art buyer Alex Zikakis, who has a house on the island. When Zikakis saw the image as an 8-foot Lightjet print at the opening of the Aaron Chang Gallery in Solana Beach, California, he immediately knew he wanted the same image for his office in California.
Inspired by the art in a lightbox he used to see in a New York train station, Zikakis commissioned Chang to display the Na Pali image similarly for his office. To produce the new image, Chang partnered with California-based print provider Digital One Color, which had produced the original Lightjet print.
Production: For output of the 1 GB image file, Digital One opted in this case to use its Durst Rho 600 Pictor UV flatbed printer, imaging onto Spartech Tuf-Glas with Durst inks.
“We chose this material because we could surface print directly on this rigid backlit material,” says Paul Moebius of Digital One. “We used the Rho because it could print continuously and because the matte effect gave the print dimension.” And, he adds, a glossier look would have whited-out some of the clouds: “The fact that we could surface print with UV inks also reduced glare and hotspots.”
Printing took 45 minutes, feeding the entire piece of 64 x 287-inch Tuf-Glas into the Rho. (For this “reincarnation” of the image, the shop didn't use the LightJet because it could not go the length of the desired print.) Finishing—cutting the final graphic from the parent sheet of Tuf-Glas—was done on the shop's 98-inch Zund L-2500 digital cutter, and required just 20 minutes more.
Installation was the time-eater here, taking six installers about 18 hours. The 24-foot-long lightbox from DSA Phototech—sourced by Chang—had to be permanently installed, and the final output graphic, which will change annually, could only slide in from one side. “Installation was a challenge due to the fact that the Tuf-Glas was rigid and 24 feet long and we only had 10 feet on one side of the lightbox to feed it in,” Moebius says.
Digital One Color has been in business for four years and employs 16 in its 10,000-square-foot workspace. It is looking for more space to add a Durst Rho 800, a Rho 320 UV Roll to roll, and a Miller Weldmaster.