Collaboration is the action of working together to create the extraordinary. It would seem fitting then, that this would hold true in exhibitory design as well. The 10,000 square foot Central Park area at Autodesk University is a great example of how collaboration can breathe new life, and new purpose, into an environment.
Autodesk University is an annual event held by Autodesk, a multinational software corporation that makes software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries. The event brings together architects, engineers and structural designers who are interested in learning industry trends, networking and collaborating.
Early on in the design stage, Fabric Images was approached to collaborate with Freeman XP and Autodesk on the design of the Central Park space. With the Central Park area representing the Autodesk brand, the team was interested in gaining additional perspective that would lead to an accurate representation of the brand identity while enhancing the spatial appeal of the event. As stated by Gordon Hill, Executive Vice President of Fabric Images, “Being approached by the Freeman XP creative group to collaborate on a solution for their customer, AutoDesk was a huge opportunity for us. Not only did it give us a chance to showcase a final solution, but we were also able to express our creative talents within the design. Working directly with Freeman XP and Autodesk allowed us to engage on a higher level from the start and push the limits of what fabric architecture would accomplish within the space.”
From the moment the collaboration began, it was obvious that a game-changing environment was taking form.
Through the collaboration of talents, a concept was born that included a series of silos, each representing a different facet of Autodesk. This network of compressed spaces would strategically alter the scale, mass and acoustics within the Central Park area. The design and placement of the silos discreetly directs traffic flow, providing attendees opportunities for spontaneous interaction, while still delivering a perceived sense of privacy in each of the five areas. Overall, the concept accomplishes the objectives of:
- Allowing a space for public / private transactions
- Allowing for transparency between neighborhoods
- Creating high way finding
- Creating a manipulation of scale
- Reducing acoustical background noise
Architecturally, the silos showcase innovation and real-world solutions within the architectural market. The construction lends itself to the conversation at hand by affording attendees to see first-hand what is possible to imagine and real-life details within design and engineering in the realm of fabric architecture.
For the structure, the detail of minimalistic construction was perfectly executed. Utilizing aluminum tubing, each silo was created in thirds, which aided with installation while adding to the structural integrity of each unit. Due to the transparency factor of the design, supports and cabling had to be kept at a minimum. This meant spanning 20ft without an upright. With Fabric Images’ expertise in structural aluminum and smart engineering, this detail was easily worked into the design solution.
Transparency variation is another detail that leant itself to the design. Covering the silos, the personalities of two fabrics merged; Celtic and Linen. Celtic covered the bottom third of each tower. This presented a vibrant display of the dye sub printed graphics, while allowing for privacy. The upper two thirds took advantage of Linen, a semi-translucent fabric. With each silo having a 385 sf footprint and standing 24ft tall, the translucency offered by Linen opened the space by allowing vision to pass through while the graphical way finding and colored lighting popped.
In the end, the environment and execution exemplified the architectural personality of the Autodesk brand and created a buzz throughout the event. “The overall impact was beyond what we imagined”, stated Darien Bohannon of Freeman. “The attendees certainly noticed the incredible improvement in the layout as well as the impact of the new structures… I am already looking for other opportunities for FI to work with other customers…”
The opportunity to collaborate benefited the design, experience and ultimately the customer. This led to the Central Park area being a fully branded event where it was clear that Autodesk was the host. For an event focusing on the architectural market, displaying unique forms of fabric architecture not only added new life to the space, but also showcased the experiential values that are possible with frame and fabric.