Why Choice of Materials is So Critical

This is the first of a series of periodic posts that draws from our recent publication 40/40: Excellent Ideas Over 40 Years—wisdom culled from four decades as one of America’s premiere scenic fabrication firms. Look for more of these over time—we hope you’ll find something to use in your work.

Idea 6: Materials Matter Tons
What do a cool pop-up store, popular brand activation, science museum exhibit and a theatre set all have in common? Answer: materials matter. A lot.

When you work closely with a design and fabrication team to make smart material decisions, the benefits can be significant. Match a project with its best material choices and you can save money, reduce shipping costs, ensure exhibit durability, or create a high-end look at a bargain basement price. 

Here are a few quick examples of materials and some guidelines for when they are the right—or not so right—choice.

Rolled paint finish or sprayed paint finish?
Sprayed finishes produce an even, higher end look but rolled paint finishes are the easiest to touch up. If you’re working on a short-term pop-up event, rolled paint finishes are a good choice. Sprayed paint finish is a better choice for an elegant corporate lobby. 

Paint finish or laminate?
Laminate finishes are more durable than paint and they’re available in a wide variety of finishes, colors, and patterns. Consider your audience, however, before you select laminate surfaces. Children love to peel back the edges of laminated surfaces, making even new exhibits look a little tired.  

If you’re creating a short-run theatre set, a rolled paint finish is a good choice. Scenic painters using special techniques can transform inexpensive materials into luxurious- looking finishes with the touch of a paint brush. Ask your fabrication team about the possibilities and see what a little paint and a lot of artistic talent can produce.  

Solid surface, paint, or laminate?
Solid surface materials are more durable than paint or laminate surfaces. They’re also available in higher end finishes. A solid surface countertop would work well in a permanent installation such as a test kitchen environment.  

Check back on our main blog page for more ideas from 40 years!

Interested in receiving your own copy of 40/40?  Contact Us!

Why Choice of Materials is So Critical