Kavalan and Print Station hit the right note for vegan eatery design

August 16, 2023

The team at Print Station, a specialist large-format print and design business in Uxbridge, UK, are used to being forward thinking. Just look at the company’s origin story; about 15 of Print Station’s team are DJs, who started off bringing the party to life at weddings, bar mitzvahs, and corporate events. “We started to offer print services to our customers just as an added service,” explains director Rajan Chonkaria. “It started off with small things like table plans. And then, as we got busier, we thought, ‘We can offer more. Let's offer something a bit more bespoke’."

As the business grew and its print offering became increasingly successful (to this day printed dance floors remain one of the more highly demanded services), Print Station reached out to CMYUK, and credits the company, with a particular nod to Joel Willcock, CMYUK’s Commercial Director (Materials), for helping Print Station grow and thrive. “Even now Joel is my go-to guy for everything. If I need something, I say, ‘Joel, help me out. Explain to us how we can bring this solution to life, and what's the best way to do it’. We've got a really good relationship with them because they were with us from day one."

That’s when CMYUK introduced Print Station to the PVC-free solutions available from Kavalan. Joel Willcock knew it was the perfect fit for Print Station’s forthcoming project, designing and installing the interior of a new vegan restaurant in the heart of Windsor. The owner of the restaurant Manjinder Bhandal, a local eatery entrepreneur, had made the choice to adopt a vegan lifestyle, and wanted to dispel some of the negative associations and show the world that vegan food is good food. He knew how to create a great menu, but needed some help with great aesthetics.

“He wanted a simple design, with neutral, earthy colours, so we put together some concepts and worked with him to whittle it down to the final design,” explains Rajan. The restaurant also has a child friendly element with a dedicated play area, which needed to be incorporated into the design. “The next step was finding the right materials to print on. And that’s where Kavalan came into play.” CMYUK knew that Kavalan would be the ideal solution for this project, and trusting their judgement, Rajan and the team opted for Kavalan Gecko 320 GB, a greyback wallcovering material, for the interiors of Garden of Eden, which is situated in luxury department store Daniel’s in Royal Windsor.

Although Print Station had every confidence in CMYUK’s recommendation, it was still the first time they had used Kavalan materials, and this was a major project, so there was certainly some anxiety when it came to installation. But they needn’t have worried. “It was quite nerve-wracking,” admits Rajan, “and we were on-site thinking, ‘I hope this comes out well!’ But once it had gone up and it been installed, it was like a breath of fresh air for us. We thought, wow, we now know why CMYUK were so sure that this was the right product to use."

The Garden of Eden team agreed, and Kavalan ‘sat so nicely with their ethos’, adds Rajan. “They went with the right product for their job. You've got to be very careful when you're doing projects where issues like veganism and sustainability are at the heart of it, because you want to make sure that you're not giving anyone an opportunity to point the finger and highlight where your values don’t align.” Being sustainable is important to Print Station as a business, too. “We want to be environmentally friendly because we believe in it,” continues Rajan. “We want to make sure that as a company, we're setting a good example to other companies and our customers. It also makes us a little bit different from everyone else. We want to help the environment, and we want people to be more wary of what they're putting into their installs as well. Once you educate people on that, they get it, and they support it.”

Being PVC-free is a significant draw, particularly as more and more people become aware of the importance of protecting our planet, but it’s not enough for premium design projects without the combination of green credentials and great performance. “Used in conjunction with our UV printers, the ink sits on Kavalan so nicely,” says Rajan. Print Station used their JETRIX flatbed LED printer to print onto Kavalan. Elsewhere in-house, the business also runs a JETRIX 3.2m roll-to-roll, a Zund digital cutter, and a CNC router.

“We're super happy with how the colours have come out. It's easy for our print guys downstairs to load onto the machines, they like the fact that it's got a little bit of flexibility. Same with the installers, it was so easy to apply and there were no issues in terms of handling the material. It does everything a traditional banner does, just with a little bit more ease. Now that we know that this product is available to us, we're moving even our short-term products over to Kavalan because it just makes a lot more sense for us. It's a very, very easy material to work with.”

As well as contributing to a job well done, Kavalan was the right choice for Print Station in more ways than one. “One guest at the opening of the restaurant, as we explained the process and the material we used, decided that she wanted her daughter's bedroom wallpapered with Kavalan because she was so supportive of the product. Where she was going to go and just buy a bog-standard off-the-shelf wallpaper, she then came to us and said, "Well, why don't you design me something bespoke and use this product in my house?" So, we ended up winning a job out of that restaurant project, which was great for us.”

Print Station is looking forward to much more success with Kavalan products in the future, and has become an evangelist for the material, as Rajan explains: “We are super happy with the product. We've got so much confidence in it now. The minute we have an opening to sing its praises, we always sing its praises, because we honestly believe in the product. And personally, I feel like for every single one of our events we should be using Kavalan material because it works so well. It just ticks all our boxes.”

Rajan believes having Kavalan at their disposal will also help them win new business, explaining: “It's going to open a lot of doors for us, because now we can approach tenders in a different way and say, we want to introduce you to this product. That way it's beneficial for us and it's going to be beneficial for the customer as well. When they tell their customers that about their eco-friendly and sustainable approach, it helps everyone. This product is good for everyone.”

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