Vescom: Interview with Herman Reith

Zaans Medical Center by Vescom

Zaans Medical Center by Vescom

What is Vescom?

Vescom develops, produces and distributes high-quality interior products for the international contract market, such as wallcovering, upholstery and curtain fabrics.

Vescom stands for high quality, distinctive designs. Sustainable materials form the basis of our collections. Products produced by Vescom are used in the contract market worldwide. Mainly in the hospitality, healthcare, office, education and retail market segments.

There is a growing need for beautiful, rich and attractive interior products within these markets where the functionality of the products is of vital importance. Vescom’s products fit in perfectly with this realisation. Technically, the wallcovering, upholstery and curtain fabric collections meet the high-quality requirements that are set by the contract market.

When was the company formed?

The company was formed back in 1971. Vescom is part of the Vescom group. Vescom group consist of companies that develop, produce and distribute high-quality interior products for the international contract market. Vescom has production facilities in Europe and the USA, and distributes its products in over 90 countries worldwide.

What is your background?

I studied business administration and have worked in the floorcovering industry before I joined Vescom in 2002. In my current role, I am responsible for Vescom’s sales in the Benelux countries.

So tell me about how you have seen this business change in 15 years?

When I joined Vescom 15 years ago, all of our business came from collections that we developed printing from analogue. But just at this point digital was starting to come in. We thought this was interesting and decided to buy our own printers and install them in Vescom.

Has this part of your business grown much?

Over the last few years, this has grown fast. It is not a hype but a trend that will only get bigger. We now sometimes see projects that are entirely digital. Designers love it as they can produce and design their own thing and it can give freedom of design which is a huge benefit to their creativity. This could be a photographic image or a graphic image from a stock database or created by themselves.

A recent job that we did was in a hospital in Zaandam (NL). The hospital’s atrium measured 90 metres long by 14 metres high and the architect developed one (!) very large graphic image to fit this huge wall. In the early days, hospitals would be mostly white and therefore very clinical and you wouldn’t want to be there-there is much more room nowadays for colour and design as it is part of the healing environment and it feels more comfortable psychologically for the patient who is healing.

What is driving this? We are not in the home market, we are in the contract market?

Really we see a lot of growth of digital print in hotels. Not only accent walls in a lobby are often being covered with digital print, but also the walls behind a bed. Paintings that hung on a wall are being replaced by printed wallcovering to add atmosphere to a room and to prevent paintings getting stolen. Also, digital prints are nowadays being used in corridors, restaurants, elevator areas and public spaces. Apart from the hospitality market, we see prints being used nearly everywhere, often in combination with other Vescom wallcovering and fabrics from our standard ranges.

Hockey Club Den Bosch

Hockey Club Den Bosch

Does the hotel ask you to design?

We will print what you will send to us. That’s our motto. The designer will be assigned to the hotel and will create the interior. He makes a plan and decides whether or not to put in a digital printing. The designer creates the interior and then speaks to us. Vescom facilitates everything around the digital print.

Do you work with the designer?

Yes, the designer is our main focus in the contract market. We do print samples, work with them with the dimensions, check the on their printability, this is important as it is not good enough to be just printed, we always double check things. The design firms know us and we have strong relationships since many years with the A&D community…

How to get new business?

We work for many years with design firms and they get visited by our sales reps. We meet them at events focused on design, building, architecture, facility management. They make new plans and pick and choose designs and colour ways, select technical specifications and they present their plans to the owner and it is important that we are part of the plan. It is a specification business and with Vescom products our customers are sure to fulfil the right criteria as not every substrate on the market can be used with regards to fireretardancy and the required firetest certification.

What trends do you see with the printing?

What we see is that the wide width materials are getting more popular as you don’t have seams, you don’t have patterns repeat to be matched, there is no overlap and double cut necessary. The room high substrates are more and more popular and being asked for, not only by designers but also by the decorating companies who hang the product, as they tend to find this much easier.

Really designers are beginning to explore the possibilities of digital print in a mainstream way in the international contract market. With Vescom we enable them to create their own story with wallcoverings, upholstery and/or fabrics, all digitally printed.

Our story is that a designer can create their own story with digital print – and we facilitate that – we have a design studio that works with the designer.

How closely will you work with a designer?

Together with the designer we will make sure that in the end there is a printable file suitable for the project, and based upon the exact dimension of the walls in the project. If needed, samples are being made on beforehand to double check. We will not only work closely with the designer but also with the application company. We will go onsite, if necessary, with our (technical) people, assess walls to verify suitability. Vescom does not have its own installers, it is always an external party that does the application. So, we cooperate with these installation companies. The application companies will work with our own lines of primer/sealer and glues as well. These products have been developed precisely for our wallcoverings to guarantee a good hanging on the walls. During the recent “Print Interiors’ event in Eindhoven there were not only designers in the public that work with our printing possibilities, but also many printing companies that are our customers and buy our glues.