Beyond Retail: Changing Display Walls Shine in Academic Environments

| January 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

by Naomi Mukai  and Michele Phelan

Boston College's Alumni Center display with changeable graphic recesses-1

Boston College’s Alumni Center display with changeable graphic recesses

Changeable graphic walls and panels can help transform interior spaces within minutes, providing versatility and flexibility to designers and architects. One of several systems available uses magnetic receptive materials in a three part graphic system, where films, fabrics and veneers are applied to the wall and align with pre- treated walls and casework. The Visual Magnetics Graphic System uses a magnetic receptive iron based primer, a magnet backer and a magnetic receptive media material, to provide a versatile solution for graphics and décor, the flexibility of being able to layer on materials and to mix textures and finishes.

Boston College’s Cadigan Alumni Center, completed in 2012 and designed by ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge (ARC), is fast becoming a “home away from home” for Boston College Alumni. During the architectural renovation and addition project, the college realized it needed to create a library space that provided both a welcoming place to sit and read as well as an area for the display of publications, books and other materials created by alumni.

96pt. of Cambridge, Mass., was called in to design a flexible, changing display area along a blank wall in the Alumni Center’s atrium. “We wanted to create a library experience that was different than the historic spaces on campus – something fresh and contextual that complemented the clean lines and detailing of the modern atrium,” says 96pt. partner, Michele Phelan.

96pt. worked with BC to program the wall to include movable displays, storage, and large recessed windows for photography, welcome messaging, and visuals.

ARC provided the construction documentation and follow through with the project’s former millwork contractors. For the graphic component, Visual Magnetics was the perfect partner. The recesses were treated to accept magnetic receptive material, and photos selected by the college’s design and photography team were printed on the appropriate medium for installation. The photos were simply “rolled on.” “It’s like magic.” says Phelan. “The college can remove and store the photos, and change them on the fly to display seasonal or event-based images.”

Other institutions have also used the magnetic receptive system to as a solution for functional décor. The School of Visual Arts’ Design for Social Innovation program in New York City used the system as an interior design feature where entire walls were treated with several styles of graphics and wall coverings. For example, lobby space walls were treated with a seventy-foot, magnetic receptive photo installation by artist Simo Neri, while interior classroom walls were treated in floor-to-ceiling whiteboard and included magnetic receptive sticky notes specifically designed for use by the program’s students.

Boston College Cadigan Alumni Center is located on the college’s Brighton Campus on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. The School of Visual Arts is headquartered in New York City.

Naomi Mukai,  is a communications strategist at Visual Magnetics and Michele Phelan is a partner at 96pt.

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