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Bird's-Eye View

(April 2011) posted on Thu Mar 24, 2011

Berry and Homer transform glass enclosures into a city view.


By Paula Yoho

click an image below to view slideshow

A new display at The Philadelphia International Airport, installed directly on two interior glass enclosures, features the work of the city’s own Sarah Zwerling, whose digital photography re-creates the rooflines and treetops of two famous Philadelphia neighborhoods – Hamilton Street and Fairmount Park.

Zwerling’s imagery lines both sides of the concourse, creating a birds’ eye-view of the city’s narrow, residential streets. To bring the photos to life, the airport engaged local print provider Berry and Homer.

The images were provided as Photoshop files, and Berry and Homer used that same program to mask out all the areas that didn’t need to be printed. The shop then turned to its reliable 54-inch EFI Vutek QS2000 for output using Vutek QS Series r inks.

“The material we printed on was optically clear Wincos by Lintec,” says Joe Thompson III, president of Berry and Homer. “It has an adhesive on it, but it’s a harder PET material.” The clear, polyester window film, he says, features permanent pressure-sensitive adhesive and scratch-resistant coating, and is perfect for a permanent, glass-mounted exhibit such as this, because it’s durable, but completely undetectable to the untrained eye.

“We take this material and, using our Vutek QS, print a layer of the image, then back that layer up with white, but only in certain areas, so we leave other areas clear,” explains Thompson. “Then, on top of that, we print another layer of image, so it’s a three-layer printing process.”

The result, he says, is a very lifelike image that can be mounted to the glass without affecting the opacity or leaving visible installation lines. No finishing was required, but Thompson says his team used its Zünd router to cut the panels to fit the windows. It took two installers three days to fit the murals in place, working at times on a two-story lift inside a stairwell to affix the graphics to the inside of the window.

“The material we printed on is about 50-inches wide, but several of the windows meaure 80-inches wide, so there is a seam in there, but you can’t really tell from looking at it,” says Thompson, adding that, perhaps a bigger challenge was getting all of the installation materials through airport security.

“There’s a lot of detail in these pictures, even birds in the trees, so anytime people walk past them, they stop and look at them. And at a certain time of the day when the sunlight hits it just right, it’s just stunning,” he says.

Berry and Homer
berryandhomer.com


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