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Not Serving at This Time

A German grocery store uses retractable, fabric banners to indicate when its deli and meat departments are closed.

Big Picture

Kaiser’s Tengelmann, one of Germany’s largest grocery stores, faced a perplexing problem: How to communicate to its customers that the store is open until 9 p.m. or later, but the cheese, cold meats, and meat counters stop serving after 8 p.m.?

The answer: a tailor-made fabric solution—based on similar ones for exterior shading—from industrial designer Thesing Sonnenschutztechnik and print provider Procedes. At 8 p.m., all fresh food counters now disappear behind digitally printed vertical screens, which can be let down on the push of a button (or by remote control). The printed images show that these are the chilled, fresh food counters but that there is currently no service. During the day, the screens disappear into closed boxes that are mounted under the ceiling.

Procedes output the moving-screen graphics onto waterproof Mediatex Bermuda fabric from Junkers & Müllers using its Durst Rho 350 and Durst inks. Procedes also executed all cutting and finishing to fit within the customized mechanism from Thesing, who also did the install work. The system has no guidance tracks on its sides, so perfect hanging attributes without curling were essential. A dozen Kaiser’s stores are currently outfitted with the new fabric screens.


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