PHOTOS: Padgett and Company Inc.; Fabric Images Inc.
Fabric is strong yet delicate, sturdy yet malleable, and substantial yet lightweight all at the same time. Those qualities make it the creative foundation of everything from curtains to culottes – and exhibitry. And for Autodesk Inc., fabric was the perfect medium to create intimate spaces within its massive 100-by-100-foot exhibit.
To accomplish that task, designers created a collection of geometric pillars from tensioned fabric that represented various themes and product areas. Each structure occupied roughly 200 square feet of floor space, yet soared 24 feet, and was divided into three 8-foot-tall vertical segments.
Fabric Focal Points
A series of five identical, eye-catching, tensioned-fabric structures created intimate spaces within Autodesk Inc.'s 100-by-100-foot exhibit at Autodesk University. The structures were strategically placed to improve acoustics, alter the visual scale of the booth, and serve as landmarks, directing attendees to various areas of interest inside the 1,000-square-foot space.
Textile choices defined those segments: Printed celtic fabric, which covered the bottom third of each silo, offered a blank canvas for dye-sublimated graphics. Printed, semitransparent poly linen wrapped the middle third, and stark-white poly linen graced the top third, allowing colored lights within each structure to emanate.
Underneath that carefully selected fabric laid a foundation of creative engineering. "Two cables were placed in the upper third of each silo to mimic the strength of a support without creating a visual interruption," said Allison Pocewicz, marketing coordinator at Elgin, IL-based Fabric Images Inc. Even more impressive was the project's miniscule price tag – a mere $35,000.
But these structures did more than delineate product areas. They also served as way-finding elements, directing visitors to their areas of interest within the massive space via bold typography, a trait that Exhibit Design Awards judges appreciated. "Seeming to defy gravity, these elements clearly differentiate the product areas within the exhibit," one judge said. That's proof that the silos didn't just defy the laws of physics; they also created a presence that was much greater than the space they occupied.