WHS visit to IVO Prints

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Over 50 years of fine fabrics and wallpapers from hand printed to digital: WHS visits Ivo Prints

Ivo Prints has specialised in producing high quality fabrics and wallpapers since 1963. They offer screen and digital printing, textile preparation and finishing and a design studio. Originally founded as a fabric printing specialist by Ivo Tondor, a Czech national who flew Spitfire planes in the Second World War, Ivo Prints was established as a privately owned company by Ellen and Victor Haas at a small premises in Paddington where it attracted the fashion elite of the 1960s including Mary Quant, BIBA, Celia Birtwell, Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes. Ivo Prints soon diversified into furnishings and undertook orders for Osborne & Little (the former Chancellor of the Exchequer’s family firm) and Michael Szell. 

Since 1976 Ivo Prints has been located in Southall, West London just a short distance from the M4 and Heathrow. On a gloriously warm day in June 2015, the current owner Michael Haas, son of Victor and Ellen, gave a group from the WHS an informative tour of the works and a fascinating history of this highly successful family business. Among their clients are Vanessa Arbuthnot, Martha Armitage and Vivienne Westwood. As we toured the works we met Podge who is the Floor Manager and has worked at Ivo since 1978. He skilfully demonstrated screen printing an 11 colour floral print on textile.

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When Archive Prints closed a few years ago they gave their printing screens and colours to Ivo Prints. Stephen Lewis of Lewis & Wood is a client of Ivo Prints. He brought designs to show them that were printed on non-woven paper, which they treat like fabric, printing to the same scale. This non-woven material is applied by putting the adhesive on the wall first and then sticking the paper to it.

These days, Ivo Prints is using an HP Latex Printing machine as well as screen printing on Gali Tables. They also use a large Reggiani Printer. They pre-treat fabrics with chemicals to improve the quality of the surface printing. Ivo Prints employs 40 staff including two designers. Michael says that Loughborough University in the Midlands is a particularly good source of design students for their firm.

Non-woven papers can be a problem because of their surface hairiness, possibly caused by acrylic fibres being cut too fine. Increasingly the firm is moving over to digital printing. Michael says that as this increases he will clear out some of the many thousands of screens that the company stores to make more room for specialist machines that can produce effects such as glitter on wallpapers, which are currently popular.

 

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In 2012, Ivo Prints designed and produced the fabulously colourful fabrics that were wrapped around the London taxis and the pianist on a flatbed truck that were a memorable feature of the Olympics Closing Ceremony. 

Ivo Prints has been a successful family business for more than half a century and looks set to continue for many years to come, with the youngest of Michael’s three sons now working in the business. Michael puts the success of the business down to the quality of their work, their team ethos and the fact they have deliberately kept the scale of their work highly flexible, manageable and bespoke so that they can always meet the very specific needs of their many and varied customers.

More information: www.ivo.co.uk