Summer 2015 Newsletter

Amphibians Chicago's Shedd Aquarium

Amphibians Chicago's Shedd Aquarium

Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium recently celebrated the opening of its new special exhibit, Amphibians, which includes more than 30 different habitats containing 40 species of salamanders, frogs, toads, and caecilians. Chicago Scenic created the tank bases and several scenic elements, and installed graphics for the three-room exhibit.

The exhibit’s amphibians are sensitive to their environments, so each aquarium is tightly controlled. To avoid off-gassing and to support the weight of the heavy acrylic tanks, water, and rocks, bases were constructed with extra care and specialty materials. The 18 free-standing tank bases were custom built using moisture-resistant MDF plywood. Tank cases were engineered with special doors and openings to facilitate daily feedings and care of the animals within each tank.

A 30-foot long accordion wall at the exhibit entrance was custom built to display a dual image – when standing to the right, successive tiles create the image of an amphibian; from the left, the image displays the exhibit title. Larger-than-life lily pads and eight-foot sun rays were CNC-cut from colorful acrylic and suspended from the ceiling throughout the exhibit. In some locations exhibit lighting filters through the acrylic, shooting rays of light, or “sunlight,” onto the aquariums below.

iPads throughout the exhibit offer educational content to guests. Chicago Scenic installed the iPads so that they could be removed and maintained without the use of any tools, making the job easier for the Shedd’s IT staff.

Amphibians, which takes the place of Jellies (See Studio News, Spring 2011), will run through 2017. Chicago Scenic Project Manager Jean Burch worked with the Shedd’s Vice President of Planning and Design Tynnetta Qaiyim and Designer John Kelly along with Architect Nevin Hedlund of Nevin Hedlund Architects, Inc. to bring the exhibit to life.

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RedEye and Chicago Magazine Begin Broadcasting Content

RedEye and Chicago Magazine Begin Broadcasting Content

Chicago Scenic was pleased to work with Peter Provost of Provost Studio again, this time on our second design-build project for the Chicago Tribune. This broadcast set is especially hard working because it becomes two distinct sets that serve two distinct audiences; one targeting the Chicago Tribune’s free daily “RedEye” circulation, the other targeting “Chicago Magazine’s” upscale audience.

The RedEye set (shown at right) sports an edgy, industrial look with a faux brick and plaster wall, a stenciled outline of the Chicago Street grid, a door that opens onto an ‘El’ stop, and a prominent RedEye logo.

The Chicago Magazine news set, by contrast, is white and sleek and sophisticated (shown above). RedEye’s prominent red logo is replaced by a bright white back wall, accent lighting, and bold black and white logo treatments. The set is built around two upholstered club chairs and a geometric-design rug. Framed photos of Chicago landmarks hang on the wall and three sets of doors open onto an ‘El’ platform.

The studio and sets were designed for flexibility and to maximize the combination of camera angles, Chicago Scenic’s Project Manager Stefan Koniarz said. “We can accommodate a standing one-person shot all the way to a five-person panel.”
Koniarz and Provost worked closely with the Tribune’s Senior Video Producer Mason Pierce and Designlab Chicago’s Lighting Designer Jill Stewart on the project.

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Lincoln Dealers’ Meeting

Lincoln Dealers’ Meeting

When Lincoln Automotive introduced its new cars, including the new Lincoln Continental, at a recent spring dealers’ meeting, Chicago Scenic was there again to help, providing scenic elements that included a 120-foot-wide and 60-foot-deep stage.

More than 900 dealer personnel attended the two-day event held at the Marriott Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, TX. The meeting’s theme was “Building Momentum”, positioning Lincoln as a luxury brand independent from Ford Motor Company.

Designed by Terry McClellan, the main set featured two revolving walls (shown at right) used for new car reveals; three of Chicago Scenic’s onstage turntables operated by the CS control system also rotated to display 360-degree views of the new cars.

Due to a short load-in period, said Chicago Scenic’s Project Director Ross Hamilton, “We ran double crews working 24-hour days to complete installation in just 72 hours.” Part of the reason for the extensive install, Hamilton added, was the large deck that was installed and then covered with white laminated flooring. Chicago Scenic also built and installed sets featuring small stages and large-scale graphics for three break-out rooms. One of the rooms, pictured above, featured a circular stage.

The spring dealers’ meeting was the second automotive project Chicago Scenic worked on this year with Bud Price, executive vice president, and Bob Iverson, chief production officer, at Gail & Rice. The first was Ford press event at the North American International Automotive Show in Detroit in January (Studio News Winter 2015).

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NFL Helmets On Display

NFL Helmets On Display

One of the earliest spring events to kick off Chicago’s hosting of the official 2015 NFL Draft was the installation of the 32 NFL team helmets at Pioneer Court along North Michigan Avenue. The exhibit was part of a promotion by Pepsi in which the company gave away free tickets to the NFL Draft event, held at the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University.

Pepsi contacted Chicago Scenic after being referred by JC Decaux which has used Chicago Scenic to manage a number of bus shelter promotions, including a recent one featuring DSW’s pink high heel shoes (Studio News, Spring 2014).

Gary Heitz, Chicago Scenic’s Project Director, immediately contacted fiberglass specialist FAST Corporation of Sparta, WI to get the helmet mold started since the project was on a fast track. Once the mold was made and the helmets were cast, FAST transported them to Chicago Scenic’s Goose Island facility. In the meantime, Chicago Scenic had each team’s helmet decals sized and printed to fit each 3-foot-diameter helmet.

When the helmets arrived, Chicago Scenic’s crew applied the graphics and then connected the helmets to concrete bases. “We designed and had custom bases manufactured and used a secure attachment method to ensure that the helmets couldn’t be tipped over or broken off at the base,” Heitz said.

The next step involved transporting the helmets and bases – each weighing 1,100 pounds – to Pioneer Court for installation on Easter Sunday evening. While on display, the helmets were a popular photo opportunity for football fans of all ages.

Chicago Scenic removed the helmets after the NFL Draft - but look for them to make another appearance next winter…exact location tbd.

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NFL Draft Town Sign

NFL Draft Town Sign

For the first time in 51 years, the NFL Draft came to Chicago’s Grant Park for three days of games, broadcasts, food, and fun at Draft Town. Chicago Scenic helped provide the LED-lit ‘Draft Town’ lettering and the 13-foot tall NFL crest, as well as the Oikos sponsor sign that formed the iconic marquee entrance shown in most press photos. C-3, who brings Lollapalooza to Chicago each year, was the event producer.

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Blackhawks Rally Day Draws 60,000+

Blackhawks Rally Day Draws 60,000+

For the third time in six years, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, and Chicago fans turned out in big numbers to celebrate at the Soldier Field rally held three days after the team’s big win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The rain did little to dampen the spirits of an estimated 60,000 fans who crowded into the stadium; free tickets, distributed via Ticketmaster the day before, were snatched up in minutes.

Chicago Scenic’s Project Manager Stefan Koniarz began meeting with Ravenswood Event Services even before the Hawks had clinched the title to discuss plans first for a parade, then for a rally. After the win, planning went into high gear when the decision was made to move the rally from rain-soaked Grant Park to Soldier Field.

Beginning the day before the rally, Koniarz, Carpentry Department Head Andy Lemerand, and Project Director Gary Heitz began to oversee labor crews that were erecting the stage and media platform. Heitz also arranged for Noah Winter of Artistry in Motion to fly in from California to oversee the confetti cannons that launched 450 pounds of red, black, and white confetti during the rally; Winter managed the confetti cannons at the 2013 and 2010 Blackhawks’ parades as well.

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