“The HP Designjet T2500 eMultifunction Printer is a brilliant printer and scanner which enables us to produce A0 prints of the utmost quality which preserve the very fine detail that goes into our drawings, watercolours and plans,” says Arthur Smart, Associate Director, Witherford Watson Mann Architects
Witherford Watson Mann Architects was established in 2001, combining the significant experience of its three directors in cultural buildings, public spaces and urban design. Most recently, the practice was awarded the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize in 2013 for its work on Astley Castle, which means the fortified remains of this ancient castle near Nuneaton in Warwickshire is officially the best building of the year. This project saw the practice transform the crumbling ruins of a former royal residence into a beguiling holiday home for the Landmark Trust. The work the company completed on Astley Castle gives a valuable insight into the practices design methods.
The architects use a combination of physical modelling, photography, hand drawings and watercolours to test and communicate the project, but need a way of bringing this material into the virtual world to edit and share. “Drawing and modelling by hand at large scales are central to how we work, how we test, explore, record and present. So being able to get the qualities of these handmade things quickly and accurately into the computer is critical,” explains Arthur Smart, associate director. “However previously we couldn’t scan or print any larger than A3 so, in the case of a project like Astley Castle, we had to stitch together scans of larger drawings together or outsource it to local print shops.”
High quality, large format appeal
As a long time HP customer, using HP Z220 Workstations, servers and, for the past eight years, a HP Designjet 800PS Printer, the practice turned to HP for advice. It wanted the ability to create pin-sharp prints up to A0 format, as well as scanning to the same size. The HP Designjet T2500
eMultifunction Printer was recommended as the answer to these requirements. “The new printer helps us to bridge the gap between traditional processes and current technologies. We can take drawings up to A0 size, scan it in for further editing and reprint without losing any detail. It’s important that there is consistency across this process and the HP Designjet provides that,” adds Smart.
Quiet and compact
The new printer not only affords the practice the freedom to print and scan in large formats, it also boasts a range of additional benefits. Its small form factor in particular is of great advantage in an office where space is at a premium. “The studio is full of books, drawings, models and workstations so the fact that the HP Designjet T2500 is much more compact than the older HP model at only 36” wide really helps,” continues Smart. “It’s also very quiet and economical – since we have installed it we have only replaced one ink cartridge and that was a simple process.”
Loaded with user-friendly features
Intuitive control is another aspect of the HP Designjet T2500 eMultifunction Printer that is proving popular at the practice. The touchscreen enables users to view status and track jobs as well as monitor the media rolls. And these media rolls can be loaded effortlessly with front loading and automatic alignment. “The front loading capability makes putting in rolls much easier while the touchscreen gives you step by step instructions so everything is clear and straightforward. We currently have HP Heavyweight Coated Paper and HP Natural Tracing Paper loaded and switching between them is super simple,” says Smart.
“It used to be tricky getting the alignment right in older machines so the automatic alignment function makes our life easier. It’s this attention to the smallest details that really sets the printer apart and shows how good HP’s design is. As an architect I can appreciate that.” The integrated output stacking tray which enables flat, collated prints is another feature that has struck home for Smart: “It stacks and collates prints neatly and quietly which is fantastic. Our previous printer would let prints fall on the floor if you didn’t keep an eye on it.”
Saving time and money
With the HP Designjet T2500 eMultifunction Printer in place, the practice is well positioned to produce more award-winning projects faster and more cost-effectively. Its ability to produce full colour, high quality, large format prints and scans is making it an invaluable addition to the team. “Everybody has commented on how much improved the print process has become and, because we don’t need to outsource to other suppliers, we are saving precious hours and expect to reduce overall costs as well,” concludes Smart. “HP allows the energy and directness of our original vision to be preserved throughout the creative process and means our distinctive language of representation can be much more directly reproduced for clients.”