It's hard to say whether this sort of product will unleash a stream of creativity or a gushing torrent of poor taste. Dutch printing company ixxi has come up with an innovative, inexpensive and very nifty way to print and hang large scale artworks. By breaking the photo or design up into lots of smaller cards, which are later joined together for presentation using funky little plastic x and i shaped connectors, ixxi avoids the prohibitive expense of larger scale printing, as well as making it easy to package a wall-sized piece of art up into a small box. In fact, the same technology lets you visit an art gallery, and take a life size, photorealistic replica of your favorite wall fresco home with you, ready to reassemble and hang.
Just quietly, dear Gizmag readers, I occasionally fancy myself as a bit of a photographer. In fact, just last week I pulled out a bunch of my favorite snaps (including this one, which really nails the spirit of a mate and his wife) and got them printed on big 100 x 50 cm (39 x 19.7 in) canvas boards to hang on walls around the house.
Canvas prints and photo prints look great, but they're fairly expensive - a problem that gets exponentially bigger with size. So on a reasonable budget, you might be able to get a couple of boards printed, but you're up for quite a lot of money if you want to create a whole feature wall.
That's where ixxi comes in - this Dutch company has created a very simple, classy system that lets you print any number of smallish cards, on a variety of media, then join them together to form larger artworks using i and x shaped connectors.
That lets you break a photograph up into 50 smaller squares and present it on a large scale ... or, you can experiment with the form, creating photomosaics or even pixel art.
Once the cards are linked together, you can choose to hang them on a wall, or even dangle them from a roof to make a bespoke room divider or temporary wall. That looks even cooler when you use semi-translucent card material to print on, like they have in the Design Academy Eindhoven - see below.
The results are impressive enough that if you visit the Rijkmuseum Amsterdam, you can buy a number of the museum's famous artworks in ixxi format - and take them home with you in a small gift box, full size and ready to assemble.
The best part is the price - because you're only printing on small squares, generally below A4 size, the printing process is uncomplicated and inexpensive ... to the point where a gigantic 2 x 2 meter (6.6 x 6.6 foot) print with whatever you want on it comes out at a measly EUR 125.00 - or just US$178 for a mega print that will transform an entire wall in your house. Try pricing one of those up on canvas ... and heck, try transporting the thing!
Now, if I could only learn to take a photo or create a pixel artwork worthy of that kind of presentation!
More at the ixxi website.