Digital durability

© Sihl
© Sihl
© Sihl
© Sihl

The advance of digital printing is now opening up a major new market for nonwoven fabrics in interior design, as is illustrated to stunning effect at the new a-ja Resort in Bad Saarow, in the Oder-Spree region of Germany well known for its beautiful countryside, hot-springs and mineral-rich mud.

“At this point it is clear to everyone that this is the place for quality time,” says resort manager Andreas Winkler, “and regardless of whether the guest is sitting or passing through the building, each room reaches out to all their senses.”

Having first minimally employed digitally-printed nonwoven wallcoverings at two of its other German resorts, at Warnemünde and Grömitz near Lübeck, the a-ja Resort design team opted to keep the wall design concept consistent throughout the whole hotel at Bad Saarow and a total of over 4,500 square metres of printed wallpaper was hung, of which approximately 3,500 square metres features in the 150 hotel rooms, and a further 1,500 square metres in the public areas.

“Every image was carefully designed to perfectly match all the elements found in each room, resulting in a design unit which creates a unique atmosphere and results in a very individual, unique experience for visitors,” says Winkler. “To achieve the desired effect, the image quality plays a decisive role and the goal was a visual vibrancy that touches the emotional senses. The wallpapers create a kind of 3D effect, which almost brings the flower meadow or the trees in the forest alive.”

The a-ja brand builds resorts in attractive and established destinations on lakes and in the mountains to meet the increasing demand for affordable spa holidays in the German-speaking countries. It also places the maximum importance on tantalising designs as part of its relaxing holidays, and at the Bad Saarow hotel, this begins in the lobby, with its meadow of flowers and the sound of birdsong.

Of equal importance to the hotel chain in its selection of nonwoven wallpapers was their robustness and durability, both in terms of general wear and tear, but also in relation to the humidity in the spa and bathing areas, as well as the fact that, unlike competing products, they are not PVC based.

Nonwovens now dominate in wallpapers for digital printing, says the German company Sihl, which provided its Design2wall-branded materials for the a-ja Resort in Bad Saarow and has just introduced three new embossed variations to its Aqua 180 collection – Leather, Facets and Weave.

“Embossed surfaces help prints achieve an exceptional appearance,” says Sihl’s manager of research and development, Daniel Loosli. “The new variations have a very high quality coating for wide colour gamut and an excellent colour rendering. The inks don’t bleed and due to the flexibility of the coating no problems occur during printing or further processing. The wallpapers maintain their physical properties and their good wet strength after the embossing. Only the thickness of the wallpaper is different after embossing, although due to the high surface weight of the material and the thickness, it most certainly reaches an excellent level of opacity. The embossed variations can be easily hung, are easy to line up and reposition and, when nonwoven wallpaper paste is correctly used, can be removed again without any problems.”

Visitors can expect an increased emphasis on bold designs within the collections of a number of leading nonwovens manufacturers at INDEX™17 – the world’s leading nonwovens exhibition which takes place next year from 4th -7th April 2017 at Palexpo in Geneva– as the market for digitally-printed wallcoverings continues to grow.


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