Every year, automakers face a new challenge in presenting what’s new and exciting to the international media attending the North American International Auto Show’s press events. This year’s Ford press event, designed by Andy Warfel and produced by Gail & Rice Executive Vice President Bud Price, Executive Producer Bob Iverson, and Producer Cody Price, successfully met that challenge with assistance from a number of partners including Chicago Scenic.
Seats were full at the Joe Louis Arena where Ford held its presentation in mid-January. This year’s event opened with a video of Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford projected on an arena-filling scrim; behind the scrim, a series of historic automotive images appeared on an LED wall which filled the stage. The combined scrim and LED wall created a unique 3-D effect.
When Bill Ford’s presentation concluded, the 180-foot-wide scrim flew out on a counterweighted and motorized arbor system created by Chicago Scenic, revealing the full LED wall and the stage, enhanced by a 90-foot-wide curved back-wall basin.
Chicago Scenic created the intricately balanced system that flew the scrim and blackout drape behind it. The rigging support trusses flew at maximum height in the arena, close to 70 feet above the deck. Each mechanism included 2,000 pounds of counterweight to move the elements.
The Chicago Scenic shop also fabricated the back-wall basin that included a 20-foot section that tilted up to provide a dramatic center stage opening for car reveals. One of Chicago Scenic’s 20-foot-high capacity turntables and CS Control automation were used as well, providing accurate and controlled operation for the scrim, blackout drape, and turntable.
The event featured the newly re-designed Mustang GT 350R, the F150 Raptor truck, and the new Ford GT 2016 concept car which stole the show.
Chicago Scenic’s Project Director Ross Hamilton oversaw the entire project while Stefan Koniarz was the automation project manager.