Reproducing a Painting to Enhance Construction

Apple Visual Graphics works with DDG Partners for an artistic approach to dress this Manhattan building project.

Big Picture

More often than not, construction sites can be temporarily detrimental to a city’s aesthetic. When real-estate investment and development firm DDG Partners began a new 10-story condominium project in the heart of New York’s Meatpacking District, however, the developers decided against the typical blah black-mesh draping and opted instead for a much more artistic approach.

To mask the construction, the condo would be dressed in a 120-foot reproduction of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s painting, Yellow Trees. The idea was inspired by the Urban Canvas Project, which had previously hosted a city-supported competition to beautify construction sites. This new project would be one of two off-site installations celebrating Kusama’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. And, in fact, the image was already familiar to many New Yorkers – it had been prominently featured in an ad campaign for the heavily promoted exhibition.

DDG contacted New York’s Apple Visual Graphics ( to output the massive reproduction. The developers provided Apple with print-ready files, to which the shop added a bleed. “We went through several rounds of color proofs, hard proofs, and 1/8-scale proofs,” says Adam Sturm, president of Apple Visual. The challenge was ensuring that all the cutouts accommodated for the building’s architecture and the neighboring buildings had been accounted for in the design, explains Sturm.

With artwork approved, Apple Visual output the 15,000-square-foot graphic onto 16-foot sections of UltraFlex UltraMesh using its EFI Vutek 5335 printer. The panels were then seamed together using a Leister welder. With such a large artistic reproduction, color matching and color consistency were the top challenges, says Sturm. Still, Apple Visual was able to turn the job around in just three days.

Six installers and a foreman from Service Sign Erectors installed the building wrap in one day. The scale of the project and its placement in the heart of the city were potential challenges during installation, but the process ran smoothly, says Sturm. The final size of the graphics: 79 x 56 feet, 24 x 16 feet, 61 x 113 feet, 7 x 113 feet, and 5 x 39 feet.

The wrap was scheduled to remain installed until September 30, coinciding with the artist’s exhibition at the Whitney.


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