Nike Experiential Event Presents Multiple Challenges – and Memorable Experiences!
If you’re charged with managing corporate events and the event design and construction teams that create them, you’ll identify with some of the major challenges our team tackled during a recent collaboration with Momentum Worldwide for the Nike project, Just Do It HQ at the Church.
Momentum’s vision was to transform a church on Chicago’s West Side into a summer basketball training program for Chicago’s inner-city youth. Their challenge: design and construct the environment in a few short weeks in order to host nearly 2,000 students over four weeks of active programming that included daily training, skill and drill development, and off court education.
In response to the aggressive schedule, the usual creative collaboration became even more crucial; our fabrication team members began construction while the design team’s concepts were still underway.
While that design collaboration was in process, the team also focused on creating a relevant and realistic budget for a ‘moving target’. Since pricing drives choices in materials, techniques, content and quality, the project budget was a crucial element to success. As fabrication began and project scope expanded and contracted, we ensured that the budget kept pace with those changes.
Here’s one given from the start: Transforming a 120-year-old church into a basketball arena required very careful consideration at two levels: implementing Momentum’s ambitious design and protecting the historical integrity of the church’s special interior.
Every piece installed was beautifully designed and served a functional purpose – from fake walls to intricate basketball-themed metalwork designed to protect stained glass, to special raised athletic flooring. The result was a visually captivating space for the four-week basketball challenge that would also easily convert the church interior back to its original state.
This project also involved extra attention to details. While fabrication was underway at Chicago Scenic’s facility, four rooms in the church were being repurposed to create the sports camp. Heavy preconstruction in areas of the church was also needed before training elements could be installed. Three Chicago Scenic project managers coordinated work at the shop and at the church, while also interacting frequently with the client and subcontractor teams. Five shop leads – working in carpentry and metals at the church and at Chicago Scenic’s shop - rounded out the team that completed the transformation in just a few weeks.
Important bottom line: The right team can make even the most complex events look easy and a partner with broad experience is almost always your best bet. While Momentum had initially approached Chicago Scenic to help only with scenic design and technical drafting, as the ambitious project took shape, Momentum’s team realized that Chicago Scenic was also the right partner to fabricate and install the event design.
What Momentum realized: few companies have the bandwidth, shop space, and capacity to turn around a project of this magnitude in the time allotted. The larger project scope gets, the more crucial it is to have a project management team that has the capacity and experience to keep the whole team on point.
Project Team: Chicago Scenic (Project Management, Fabrication, and Installation); Momentum Worldwide (Producer/Brand Experience Agency); Nevin Hedlund (Architect); Kave Construction (General Contractor); Thornton Tomasetti (Engineering); Absolute (Lighting Design); Color Image (Graphics); Creative Sports Concepts (Floor Fabrication & Installation); Prime EES (Electrical Distribution); Orchard Electric (Historical Lighting Preservation)