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Serving Up Sidewalk Fare

Exterior Design Creates a Parisian Feel in Florida

by Melissa Tetreault

At SGIA in October, the buzz was on interior design in the digital marketplace. Print shop owners are creating entire homes out of digitally printed fabric, allowing homeowners to take the phrase "express yourself" even further than before. But design doesn’t stop there. Outside living spaces that are digitally printed are becoming popular as well thanks to durable media that is easily applicable to rough surfaces.

Beginning a Business
Jungle Cat Marketing (JCM) is a business-to-business marketing program company that creates promotional materials geared toward car dealerships. Four years ago, the business evolved from a simple project for a St. Petersburg, FL car dealer to a full service marketing shop that offers business cards, postcards, billboards, building wraps, and point of sale materials.

The president, Chuck de Martigny, brings a wealth of marketing and merchandising knowledge to the business thanks to his background. He was involved in the successful launch of such iconic toys as Cabbage Patch Kids and Donkey Kong when serving as director of marketing for Coleco.

Sprucing Up a Break Area
Lexus Tampa is a frequent customer of JCM. In the past, graphics, in-store point-of-sale materials, and perforated windows were all created for the car dealership by JCM. However, the most recent project goes above and beyond any prior application.

At the dealership, there is an open area between the main showroom and the utility building. A ramp to the second story parking garage connects the two buildings together, creating a protected environment from sun and rain. To the right of this area is a patio were Lexus Tampa employees take their lunch breaks. Also, customers sometimes utilize the space if the weather is nice. As the area became more popular, the management of the dealership decided that it was not presentable or comfortable enough for customer use and approached de Martigny for a solution.

Prior to Lexus Tampa approaching de Martigny, JCM was having discussions with 3M Commercial Graphics. The media manufacturer was impressed with other projects JCM had worked on and wanted to partner with them.

With a 3M partnership in mind, de Martigny thought that 3M’s new textured surface film would be a perfect fit for the project. Great for stucco, concrete, brick, or tile, 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film for Textured Surfaces IJ8624 effectively hides original wall color and removes easily with heat. It would work well on the stucco walls and raw concrete floor of the Lexus Tampa building.

Winning Partners
de Martigny knew he wanted to create a sidewalk café atmosphere, or as he says "a French Parisian painting with a Florida flare." To achieve this, JCM photographers captured various street scenes with their cameras. The concept was presented to Lexus Tampa and received rave reviews. The single thing holding them back was the cost factor. To follow through on a project of this size, they wouldn’t be able to do it alone, once again they turned to de Martigny for guidance.

Using a cross marketing technique, de Martigny suggested they contact previous Lexus partners who would be willing to contribute both financially and artistically. With a promotional appearance, the new patio area would be in his terms, "a real showboat" for the Lexus corporation. 3M agreed to participate after de Martigny pitched them his idea. Hertz rental car, Tampa International Mall, and a tenant of the mall, Capital Grille, also became involved.

Once again, photographers took to the streets to capture the various partners’ original buildings. With these photos, the JCM designers created a sidewalk scene with the appeal of a painting.

Life as Art
The design process was the longest part, taking two weeks. Between thirty different photos and architectural drawings, the final design was narrowed down to three buildings. In the image, the Tampa International Mall was placed in the middle and Hertz and Capital Grille were placed on either side. Using a VUTEk printer, the printing took two days.

Existing doors and air conditioner vents located in the patio area created a challenge for the JCM team. Across the main showroom, below the parking garage is the utility building with two doors. The doors had to stay functional, so the challenge was to make them fit into the painting. With the original image of the Capital Grille scaled down to ¾ of the size, designers took artistic license. Taking the front door to the restaurant and Capital Grille’s actual service entry door, located in the back of their real location, they placed each faux door on top of an existing utility door.

The install, with two people, took only two days. Using special 3M rollers and heat guns JCM installers were able to apply the 3M adhesive product to the wall without any trouble. Everything was laminated to ensure maximum longevity.

JCM also helped create a great floor graphic for the space. With a quarry stone look, the Lexus logo was manipulated in PhotoShop and applied in the center of the patio space.

Leader Outdoor Furniture donated patio furniture so lunch breaks are now a fully enjoyable experience at the Lexus Tampa dealership.

Thanks to de Martigny and JCM, Lexus employees and customers have a comfortable, bright outdoor living space.

Says de Martigny, "It feels like you are participating in a French painting in Florida."

Dec2007, Digital Output

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