A Dublin-based exhibitions and events print specialist has branched out into customised work-from-home wooden furniture and related products during the pandemic, using a swissQprint flatbed UV printer and a CNC cutter.

Vinehall Displays is a family-run conference, exhibition and event production company with a 32-year pedigree in the design, build and delivery of promotional materials for a broad range of blue-chip multinational companies. When the Irish government imposed a lockdown, Vinehall’s management had to choose between closing its doors and hoping for events to resume quickly or turn its manufacturing skills to new markets.

Choosing the latter route, the firm created a range of cost-effective desk/workstation products for people suddenly required to work from home. According to director Gerard McElhinney, ‘Many people were trying to figure out how to find a dedicated and comfortable spot to work while sharing small spaces with other family members. Our view was that this shift towards having a ‘home office’ would become the new way of working for a while, and it became increasingly clear that many of us aren’t properly equipped to do so.’

The company set about building products such as laptop stands, lap ‘desk’ and even flat-pack workstations to be sold online via a storefront added to its existing website. These items were made from FSC certified plywood, cut using a CNC router that was already in use for exhibition stand fabrication, and custom printed directly with a swissQprint Nyala 3 UV flatbed printer that was installed in late 2019, the first in Ireland.

‘We gained an immediate amount of social media traction with one of our laptop stands,’ reports Mr McElhinney. ‘A social media influencer ordered one and liked it so much that he shared it on Twitter. We subsequently picked up 150 orders from that single engagement.’

Vinehall has subsequently extended its range with a child’s desk / play centre and a range of Exercise From Home products that also feature customised print, as well as branded acrylic desk dividers and safety screens designed to complement existing interiors. The switch in business has meant that the company has stayed open throughout the lockdown period and kept all of its skilled workforce in employment.