Dynamic digital exhibit pulls in customers

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Inspired by shadows and the way they change, Fabric Images Inc., of Elgin, Ill., fabricated an organic, changeable exhibit environment for Grupo Escato of Mexico.

Grupo Escato was looking for a modular and multi-purpose display that could be used at various events over a two-year period. Fabric Images created seven organic tension fabric shapes that fit together but could be rearranged to create various 57- by 20-foot environments. Inside the exhibit was specialty lighting to influence the mood, video, touch screens and scents to create a complete multi-sensory experience.

One of the main challenges of the project was the unique shape of the frames. Because of the curves in each piece, and the varying sizes and shapes, each piece of fabric had to be individually designed and printed, yet all seven pieces had to flow together to create one cohesive environment. The client also requested the ability to change out the fabric on some frames so they could influence different environments over the two years the display would be utilized. One set of fabric covers had printed graphics, so special attention had to be given to the images to avoid distortion when covering the frames.

The engineers crafted each shape separately, keeping in close contact with the fabrication team to ensure the frame and fabric would fit together seamlessly. The frames were made of 2-inch round aluminum tubing, each tube individually cut to size and shaped by Fabric Images’ in-house engineers. Each piece in the display was separate and easy to break down for transport between events.

For the first year the pieces were covered in white Celtic Cloth fabric from Fisher Textiles, creating a surface for projected lighting and other imagery. The second year the pieces were re-covered in printed graphics, again utilizing Celtic Cloth. The images were printed on a grand format printer using dye sublimation and solvent inks. Each piece of printed fabric had to be morphed by Fabric Images’ graphic artists prior to printing to avoid distortion when applied to the double-curvatures of the frames. Over the course of the two-year display, lighting was used in conjunction with the fabric to play on the idea of shadows and shifting shapes.

Grupo Escato was very pleased with the results of the exhibit, feeling that it perfectly executed their vision for the entire display experience.

Fabric Images Inc. won an Award of Excellencefor interior displays for this project in IFAI’s 2012 International Achievement Awards.

Amy Overgaard is a freelance writer and barista in St. Paul, Minn.

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