French paper finishing specialist Japell Hanser&Sag continues to revisit traditional embellishment techniques. We take a deep dive into the expertise behind the company’s high-end creations.
At Japell Hanser&SAG (JH&S), creation stops at nothing. Combining eight embellishing techniques to create a greetings card requiring 12 operations? Not a problem! The group’s Book of Special Effects, a collector’s item of 50 plates, required 1,200 hours of production and 169 press runs. A virtuoso demonstration of traditional embellishment techniques’ creative potential when used ‘off the beaten track’. Artistic director Cécile Touati, from studio Déca Noisette, notes that in her eight years of collaboration with JH&S, ‘off-roading’ has become her area of expertise.
Between two Points Fab.*, she has dreamed up a series of holiday decorations for the group’s clients: 6,000 Christmas ornaments featuring multiple effects. Printed on G.F. Smith’s (Procop) Extract ecological paper, the decorations were gilded three times (solid-worked gold satin and microstructured gilding, pink solid gilding, curved glossy black gilding) and six different silkscreens. “This type of project demonstrates Japell’s ability to further explore, revisit and divert embellishment techniques and to take risks. Not to mention the company’s mastery of registration, which is its trademark,” explains Touati.
Since its beginnings in 1977, the company hasn’t stopped adding strings to its bow. At the head of the group, Jean-Baptiste Aglaghanian recalls lamination as being the core business and switching to production 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the 1990s. This reactivity made all the difference in the rapidly expanding market of the time. “We integrated screenprinting and finishing as well as UV screenprinting and offset coating techniques. Then, with the acquisition of Hanser and SAG came hot stamping, embossing and haute couture varnishes to cover the entire range of finishing techniques.”
Unsurprisingly, the group has become a key player in complex printing solutions (50% of its business), publishing (20%), POS merchandising (15%) and luxury packaging (15%). “In the POS segment, we are the only company in France to be able to produce 1m60x2m05 formats,” notes Aglaghanian. “But publishing and packaging are the most stimulating markets: our customers constantly seek new solutions in a bid to continously improve in aesthetics, quality and originality.”
For publisher Robert Laffont, JH&S just created the cover of the collector’s edition of author Léna Situations’ book: silver hot stamping decorated with metallic and iridescent effect glitter. The author’s portrait is highlighted with a selective glossy varnish on a four-color printing with matte anti-scratch lamination. For Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium fragrance flankers, the group has been reinventing glitter for half a dozen years as Hanser adds the final touch to Edelmann’s cardboard boxes—“recipes” that are both exclusive and unique. “These are complex blends: the texture and concentration of the varnishes, the glitter’s grain, the pigments and a respect for equilibrium—everything counts,” adds Aglaghanian. An illustration of an artisan’s work: small production runs with sheet-by-sheet quality control guarantee a perfectly homogenous deposit throughout the print run.
JH&S is currently testing a biodegradable glitter: “We’ve eliminated almost all solvents from our lines and our acetate lamination films offer the required ecological guarantees: made of cellulose from PEFC-certified wood, they are 100% biodegradable and home compostable.”
* The Points Fab. were designed as trend cards. At EnsAD, they are notably used as teaching aid.
This article originally appeared in the winter 2020 issue of our sister publication Formes de Luxe