A good base surface for art projects

Graffiti art has long since lost its controversial status – more and more companies and institutions are providing graffiti artists with surfaces that they are allowed to officially spray paint. Removing these works of art continues to be problematic; as spray paints can only be removed mechanically, which also usually damages the base surface. The Erfurt & Sohn GIGA roll presents an innovative solution.

The FC St. Pauli Football Club’s stadium is legendary as a venue for German Bundesliga football matches. Less well known, however, is the fact that the ‘Kiezkicker’ Arena also serves as a museum for street art: the Millerntor Gallery, an art, music and cultural festival initiated by Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli e.V., (VcA), has been using the tunnels as an exhibition space since 2011. The tenth anniversary of the event was recently celebrated with an exhibition titled “ART CREATES WATER”. The focus was on around 50 murals – large-format murals painted by the artists directly on site. Erfurt-Variovlies M 150 GIGA rolls were used as the base surface for three of them. The aim was to understand the suitability of flat nonwoven as a protective base surface for painting and the possibility of preserving a work of art by removing the nonwoven wallcovering. The thoroughly successful project attests to the excellent performance of Erfurt-Variovlies M 150 GIGA rolls in an extraordinary application. 

Vliesfaser nonwoven as protection for masonry
The cooperation between the stadium operator and wallcovering manufacturer resulted from the need to reduce the expenditure for the maintenance and preparation of the exhibition space. The stadium operator and Millerntor Gallery owners had agreed to clean off the old layers of paint and renovate the concrete walls before further exhibitions. Several layers of paint had to be removed, which is why the surfaces were blasted with dry ice. However, the powerful mechanical cleaning process damaged the concrete – in some cases to such an extent that the resulting holes had to be plastered and sanded down over a large area. This was a massive undertaking, as one of the people involved reported it to an Erfurt wallcovering field sales employee in person. The salesperson took the problem back to Wuppertal, where the Erfurt experts considered the problem in great detail. Their proposed solution: a GIGA roll-sized Erfurt flat nonwoven wallcovering glued as an underlay between the concrete and paint would prevent solvents from coming into direct contact with the wall. At the same time, the flat nonwoven would create a flat and optimum base surface for the spray paint, which can be painted over several times or even removed in one piece. Depending on the paint and paste used, there is a chance that the work of art can be preserved.
In any case, the wall surface remains intact – nothing needs to be filled or sanded any more. After consultation with the people responsible for the renovation, three wall surfaces were initially approved for a trial application with the Erfurt-Variovlies M 150 GIGA roll. 

GIGA team performance in the shortest possible time
Erfurt-Variovlies M 150 GIGA rolls really are very wide – the product is available in widths of 2.65 m or 3.20 m. Applied horizontally, the width of a roll covers the entire height of a space with a single length. It is unbelievably simple to apply, thanks to special rolling equipment (provided by Erfurt): the horizontal roll of wallpaper is first pushed onto the mandrel of the rolling equipment, then aligned vertically and locked in place. The mobile rolling equipment can be effortlessly manoeuvred into this position and the sections of wallcovering unrolled piece by piece. As usual, the flat nonwoven wallcovering was applied to the Millerntor Stadium walls using the paste-the-wall technique. The base surface was pasted and the length of wallcovering placed in the bed of paste by hand using a squeegee. Excess wallcovering was cut off on site – the walls were papered in a very short time and then handed over to the artists. The Millerntor Gallery #10 art, music and culture festival ended on 26th June 2022, but the artwork remains on show. In conclusion: GIGA roll-sized Erfurt-Variovlies M 150 has passed its test as a base surface for street art with flying colours. The requirements to “create a flat surface” and “subsequently remove the wallcovering without damaging the wall” were met in full. Erfurt Variovlies is thus also recommended as a reversible option for public and private art sponsors to make space available for art – without having to think about the cost of expensive subsequent renovation.

Find out more about the GIGA rolls here.


One of the three paintings painted on Erfurt Variovlies at the Millerntor Gallery #10 art, music and culture festival “ART CREATES WATER”. All 50 works focus on the topic of water. (Photo: Erfurt wallcoverings/Mike Schaefer Photography)

Damage was caused when the concrete surfaces were cleaned, which first needed to be extensively rectified. (Photo: Erfurt wallcoverings)

The GIGA roll of Erfurt Variovlies was applied using special rolling equipment. (Photo: Erfurt wallcoverings)

The Millerntor Gallery in the FC St. Pauli Stadium is regularly used as a venue for high-calibre street art exhibitions. (Photo: Erfurt wallcoverings)

One of the three street art works of art painted on Erfurt Variovlies at the Millerntor Gallery #10 art, music and culture festival “ART CREATES WATER”. (Photo: Erfurt wallcoverings)

One of the three paintings painted on Erfurt Variovlies at the Millerntor Gallery #10 art, music and culture festival “ART CREATES WATER”. (Photo: Erfurt wallcoverings)

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