Drawing on 30 years of experience in creative vehicle graphics, Italian wrap specialist Pico Incentive is carving out their place in the interior décor industry. Working with high-performance DI-NOC architectural film from 3M, supplied by Spandex, they are capturing exciting new market opportunities.
They began as a tour bus wrap specialist, but quickly started to grow. As the business evolved, so did the range of self-adhesive films on the market. This revealed an exciting growth opportunity in technical and decorative coatings for interiors and furniture. So, the Pico Design division was born, with a mission to promote the use of architectural films for décor applications.
A break-through project
The team’s first landmark creative project was to customize a new retail store for Italian luxury accessories brand Graziella & Braccialini. Working with prominent interior architect Emanuele Svetti, the challenge was to upgrade a bare white interior. Working with 1cm-wide ‘fillets’ of black vinyl, the application team created a grid pattern on all the surfaces in the store, including walls, ceilings, stairs, furniture, mirrors, and even a model fairground carousel.
The striking monochrome design concept also required the team to create a checkerboard on a white barrel-vaulted ceiling. Niches and dressing rooms were lined with white digitally printed film with black checks, while an entire stair balustrade was covered with black DI-NOC and white gridlines. The installation presented Pico Design with many technical challenges. A lot of precision was needed to work with such thin strips of material and to make multiple vinyl squares fit together seamlessly. Another challenge were the uneven surfaces typical of heritage buildings.
Throughout this process, Pico Design was in constant contact with the Spandex Italy team. They worked together to discuss the specific needs of each of the surfaces and find the best materials for each purpose, as well as receive guidance from Spandex on how to best apply it.
Today, Pico Design employs a team of 18 and serves a diverse range of clients, fulfilling a wide spectrum of interior and exterior projects, from holistic retail concepts to wall murals.
Commercial Director Pierpaolo Moruzzi says: “We’re passionate about the versatility and the practical advantages offered by architectural films, and our goal is to show clients across Italy what can be achieved with these materials. The possibilities are so diverse – we’ve created everything from furnishings with a carbon effect surface finish to an entire flame-red kitchen for a prominent Italian automotive brand.”
While the expertise acquired from wrapping tour buses has served the team well for its diversification into décor, there are learning curves too. “Furniture and interior design customers are creatively demanding”, observes Moruzzi. “Even with a catalogue of more than 1200 designs in the 3M DI-NOC catalogue, designers have a voracious appetite for new finishes to push the boundaries of colour and texture!”
Among the many stunning selections available, Moruzzi observes strong client demand for colours and finishes that recall nature, as well as growing popularity of ultra matt films and fabric effects. His personal favourites are the cloud and Japanese paper effects in the 3M Fasara range, and the DI-NOC fabric and oxidised metal finishes. “They have the beauty of the original materials, combined with greater resistance and ease of cleaning”, he comments.
Quality materials, skill in application
As illustrated by the Graziella & Braccialini project, there are many technical challenges compared with vehicle wrapping, predominantly because of the range and complexity of surfaces to be covered. “Often the same finish needs to be applied on different surfaces” explains Moruzzi, “from walls to furniture, from bricks to glass. It’s essential that we ensure excellent adhesion on any surface, which requires quality materials with high-performance adhesives, plus great skill in application.”
Client expectations are understandably high, making precision and clear communication fundamental. “Through Spandex we have access to the high-quality materials we need to make complex and complete proposals to clients, and we know we always have access to a knowledgeable team who can make suggestions about products and application for different client projects”, says Moruzzi. In addition, some members of the team have achieved 3M Certification via the Spandex Academy, reinforcing Pico Design’s emphasis on top performance.
Within 18 months of launch, the Pico Design division already accounted for 10% of Pico Incentive’s total business turnover, fuelling the company’s ambition to expand. They are planning to focus in three key segments – home/office furniture, general contractor, interior design – matched by a structured strategy to expand into at least nine regions of Italy.
Focusing on retail, food, luxury and fashion, the company is actively building brand awareness on social media and their website, sharing content that inspires creativity and greater environmental responsibility.
“Educating the interior design market about the creative and functional possibilities of architectural films requires a combination of patience, perseverance and a passion for the sector and the people”, reflects Moruzzi. “At Pico Design, we have all three.”
Are you looking for the material to inspire your interior design projects? Browse the full 3M DI-NOC architectural range of trend-setting products.