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Getting Technical for MIT's Lincoln Labs: Dye-Sublimation Stretch Graphic Frames

As a Department of Defense Research and Development Laboratory, MIT Lincoln Laboratory conducts research and development aimed at solutions to problems critical to national security. In 2016, the Laboratory celebrated its 65th anniversary. Today, the state-of-the-art headquarters are located in Lexington, Massachusetts and the campus, and its architecture, are as cutting edge as the technology developed here.

When White Light Visual was asked to produce some environmental graphics to help dress and define some interior spaces, stretch fabric graphics and lightly-brushed aluminum frames were the right medium to provide a soft, but vibrant contemporary graphic for the modern space.

Dye Sublimation is a high-resolution print which uses heat to transfer dye onto materials, particularly a range of fabrics. "Sublimation" got its name because the dye was considered to make the transition between the solid and gas states without going through a liquid stage. The resulting graphic is color fast, with the actual color impregnating the fabric itself, so the resulting images tend to have rich color that also allows the softness or weave of the fabric to impart additional texture. For stretch graphics, we use a polyester blend of fabric that has an elasticity built into the weave. To the perimeter, we add a silicone 'bead' of material at the outer perimeter stitched to land in a custom-fabricated frame groove that receives and holds the bead at a taught tension to create a flat, seamless, one-piece graphic panel. White Light produced 10 custom graphics and frames of various sizes, each using distinctive images.

Stretch Frame graphics

MIT's Lincoln Laboratories, Lexington, MA

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