Across from Waitrose Car Park on Balham High Street in London is what locals call the “Ugly Wall.” In an attempt to “enliven the streetscape” an artistic motif was proposed to be placed on the wall in a three-year art installation. The artist, Tod Hanson, used a series of architectural motifs as his creative approach. The work depicts the historical identity of Balham in an eye-catching visual display.
The art was printed on Dibond aluminum composite material chosen for its durable and longevity as the installation will be up for three years, enduring the elements of the wet British climate.
Hanson worked with architects Metropolitan Workshop, and was commissioned by Wandsworth Council and Balham Partnership through Modus Operandi.
HOW TO: DIGITAL PRINTING DIBOND ALUMINUM COMPOSITE MATERIAL
Large format digital printing on flatbed printers has excellent application for the substrate. Although the substrate
is available in a wide range of colors that all demonstrate excellent ink adhesion, the predominant substrate color is
white when direct digital printing. However, colored variations of the substrate may provide vibrant color contrasts
depending upon the availability of a white print head on the printer.
1. Surface Preparation
a. Surface should be cleaned and free of any surface contaminates (i.e. oils, dust particles, etc.) prior to
b. The substrate should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol, using a non-colored cloth for best results. It is important
not to use thinners or soaps as they may leave a film residue which can affect adhesion. Additionally, cleaners
containing silicone can interfere with adhesion and are not recommended.
2. Suitable Inks
a. Actual ink type depends upon the printer make and model. Consult the printer owner’s manual for
recommendations. Trialing for ink compatibility is always recommended.
b. The substrate readily accepts all types of inks including: