Pop-Up Retail Meets 3-D Printing

By Jenny S. Rebholz


Forget the long lead times that used to come along with creating a distinct and visually stimulating experience—now with 3-D printing capabilities, retailers and designers can make magic happen in a much shorter timeframe. Try 18 days to be exact, which is how long it took OMUS, Australia’s first dedicated large-format 3-D printing house, to construct what is believed to be the world’s first 3-D printed pop-up retail store.

Luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton was engaging in a month-long menswear campaign at Sydney’s Westfield Shopping Center and had its design agency, Gold Coast Displays, team up with OMUS to create an unforgettable superstructure to launch the collection. The production of this approximately 30-ft.-wide-by-33-ft. long structure showcases a new realm of possibilities for the creative minds of the retail world.

So how did they do it? By working 24/7 with Massivit 1800 3-D printers. Due to the stringent deadlines, the project required help from Massivit’s Israeli headquarters for printing strategy and pre-press file preparation. When OMUS received the job, they only had one operator for the machine, so headquarters flew in assistance, and OMUS hired a third operator. For further help, Sydney-based Composite Images was enlisted for support.

The dome-shaped design was broken down into 48 sections that each would take nine to 20 hours to print. Careful planning allowed for two sections to be printed at a time in some instances. While printing was in motion 24/7, there was still more to the completion of this complex project. The sections had to be marked for easy installation, packed and then transported from Melbourne, Australia, to Sydney, more than 500 miles away. In total, the job required 1,984 pounds of UV-curable Massivit Dimengel printing material.

Once on-site, the entire pop-up was finished in an Avery Supreme Silver adhesive film with Louis Vuitton logotype added using vinyl-cut lettering. The space was completed with flooring, a digitally printed elephant graphic on TexWalk floor-grade vinyl, and then merchandised. In the end, the project took two weeks to print and three days to install.

“There was less than three weeks from the project approval to opening night,” says Lilach Sapir, vice president of marketing and business development for Massivit. “The combination of the project size and time pressure make this a considerable accomplishment.”

The project took this process to the extreme and tested the limits, but in the end, it shows where the retail world can go with 3-D printing. “This project didn’t have straight lines, it was curvy and complex,” Sapir adds. “It shows that with this technology available, teams no longer need to say ‘we can’t do this.’ You can do whatever you want; you can give your creativity freedom—3-D printing lifts barriers and gives the retail industry endless possibilities for energizing the brick-and-mortar experience.”

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