Arena is the widest paper range developed by Fedrigoni for at least five years. The result of a year’s planning, Arena is the name for a big new range of white papers, in four shades and three textures. Yet it is not entirely new: this ambitious project consolidates many of the uncoated papers that Fedrigoni already makes into a coordinated range, with less waste in its manufacture and more choice for paper users.
‘It’s like a Swiss Army knife for white paper,’ says Chiara Medioli Fedrigoni, Group Marketing Director at Fedrigoni SpA, ‘making life easier for clients.’ Arena’s uncoated sheets come in a wide variety of weights – from 70 g/m² to a hefty 580 g/m² – and the papers are suitable for litho printing, foiling and embossing to high standards. There is a choice of three textures: Smooth, Rough and Bulk. The four shades are Natural, White, Extra White and an updated (brighter) Ivory, which she describes as being more appropriate for contemporary book design and printing. ‘There is also a growing taste for matt paper in museum catalogues,’ she says, ‘a trend away from ultra-shiny coated paper for reproductions of artwork.’ Arena also provides different options for short grain and long grain in standard sizes. Clients who favour digital printing can select Arena papers that are ready-primed for HP Indigo machines.
In charge of Arena’s development is product manager Marta Franceschi, whose background is in waste management and chemistry. Franceschi faced many challenges, not least in making something ‘new’ without disturbing the market. Many of the Arena papers are identical to previous ones, and customers can carry on using the Arena equivalent of Arcoprint, for example, with no disruption to quality or process. The three Italian paper mills making the Arena papers are the Verona mill, in the city of Verona; the Varone mill at Lake Garda, north of Verona; and the Fabriano mill at Pioraco, 420km further south.
The consolidation of Arena into four shades and three textures that could be manufactured consistently across three mills posed some initial problems for Franceschi. Making sure that the Rough and Bulk textures were consistent – regardless of which mill they came from – required thought, careful preparation and cooperation between employees. ‘You can regulate the Smooth texture more easily,’ she says. ‘The more difficult part was getting consistency throughout the rougher textures [Rough and Bulk].’ This, she explains, is ‘much more to do with the people than the technology. It is like a choir where we all have to sing together!’
Asked whether the new range resulted in any improvements in the environmental impact of Arena’s manufacture, Franceschi replies that the increased uniformity in the product range allows the company to rationalise the production programmes, and therefore reduce the waste incurred when switching between different productions. She adds: ‘The improvement involves not only waste waters but also “fresh” water consumption.’ (The new plan results in less washing between different paper products. Arena Natural is also OBA-free, which means that there are no Optical Brightening Agents used in its production.)
A beautifully designed swatch book makes a virtue of Arena’s versatility, and demonstrates the ways subtle colour, text and detailed images can be printed on the paper range, not forgetting ‘beautiful boxes for precious products’ for the packaging sector. The swatch book also demonstrates the way all three grades hold the detail of type and images, including fine art paintings, on different weights.
‘Many clients have had the perception that Fedrigoni papers are more for the covers, the endpapers, the special sections, the coloured sheets,’ says Medioli. ‘Arena is all about the text, the inner pages.’ She says: ‘An arena is a place where you can play football, or rock music, or opera. It’s democratic. Whatever you want to convey, Arena is your platform, your space.’