How Scenic Designer Akiko Nishijima Rotch used Kaos to depict the steamy Mississippi Delta and character dynamic in her set design for “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.”

by RB 3. April 2014 05:27

Post: The following is an edited version of our interview with Akiko Nishijima Rotch, Set Designer, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” playing at both the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau and the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.

Rose Brand: What was your overall design objective for the production?

Rotch: The play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” By Tennessee Williams takes place in the Mississippi Delta area, which has a very hot & sticky environment.  The hot weather affects the characters of this play a lot. The biggest challenge I faced as the set designer was how to create a hot & humid atmosphere in a theatre in Alaska.  

When I researched the environment of Mississippi, I saw a lot of images of Spanish moss. I felt that those images quickly communicated the feeling of the South, and so Spanish moss became my design motif.

Another important point of the set design was to communicate that characters have no privacy in their home. For example, Mae is always trying to eavesdrop on what Maggie and Brick are saying. Since this is an important aspect of the play, I wanted the set to visually express it.

Rose Brand: How did you achieve your design objectives?

Rotch: I started to look for a material that had both translucency (a metaphor for no privacy) and an organic shape (a metaphor for the Spanish moss).  Scrim and gauze did not have enough of an organic shape for me.  Then I discovered the samples of “Kaos” material among the Rose Brand samples I’ve been receiving since I graduated from NYU in 2007.

Kaos was the exact texture I was looking for.  The gaps in the material are uneven and Kaos is also paintable.  The uneven gaps allowed us to express the organic shape of Spanish moss. The ease of painting allowed us to create the depth of colors we needed to complete the illusion of the moss.

We used the mossy painted, black, Kaos Medium material to represent the walls of the house in an unrealistic way.  As I mentioned before, eavesdropping (and peeping) were important factors to communicate.  Being able to see and hear through the walls gave the audience the sense that there was zero privacy in this space.

Rose Brand: How else might you use Kaos for future design efforts?

Rotch: A scrim effect with an organic shaped material is pretty hard to find, so I will experiment with it when I need the texture. I am also curious about Kaos Heavy next time.  I would love to see the difference between Medium, which I used, and Heavy. I strongly recommend “Kaos” to create layers of magical space.

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Scenic Design | Special Effects | Spotlight on Design

How Rose Brand Stone Molding Cloth Was Used for the Tiki Island Art Project at Burning Man 2013

by RB 13. January 2014 09:13

Our molding cloth was featured at this year's Burning Man in Black Rock City, NV. The Brusan Stone was used for the Tiki Island Art Project headed by Donald Cassel of the Tiki Island Playa Surfers. It only took three rolls of molding cloth to create a rock skirt around the perimeter of the Tiki Island.  The crew started work on the float 4 days prior to the event. Although they didn't have prior experience with the material, everyone quickly became acclimated to how to handle and implement it.

Donald came up with a fantastic method for creating a durable skirt by hanging rebar over the edges of the island. Then, some chicken wire was placed on top to add some structural integrity over the voids between the rebar supports. This aided against periodic gusts of winds that were encountered from being out on The Playa Desert. Before laying the molding cloth overtop the chicken wire, the crew pushed and pulled randomly along the perimeter to create some natural facets/contours for the cloth to lie against. This allowed the molding cloth to obtain a more realistic final shape. The bottoms of the rebars were then fitted with small pieces of wood so that the Brusan Stone skirt could be stapled securely in place. The staples were all that was needed to hold the molding cloth in place all week thanks to its lightweight consistency.   

Overall there were multiple benefits for using the Brusan Molding Cloth. The main characteristics of the molding cloth's functionality and easy bendability allowed for accessibility to the main compartments of Tiki Island for easy operation. Also, there were no additional supports needed because the cloth was able to hold it's intended structure. The material was quick and painless for the crew to use and the outcome of the float was realistic and impactful to the Burning Man community.  Who would imagine you'd stumble upon a giant 3 story tall 50 ft. wide Tiki Island in the middle of the desert!

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Special Effects | Molding Cloth

How Donyale Werle, Tony Award-winning Scenic Designer, Uses The Rose Brand Discount Store

by RB 19. November 2013 04:44

Broadway Scenic Designer, Donyale Werle (Peter and The Starcatcher, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), uses the Rose Brand Discount Store extensively. "I usually look there first when selecting fabrics and curtains for my productions. In fact, I'll often change my design to accommodate what's currently available."

Since the Discount Store inventory consists of a lot of one-of-a-kind items that can turn over quickly, Ms. Werle often specifies two or three options for any given item that she needs. This helps her mitigate the impact of a two-week lag between the time she specifies products for purchase and the time they’re actually acquired. Usually at least one of the specified items is still for sale at the end of that two-week period.

Ms. Werle is a huge proponent of sustainability. She much prefers to use an item out of the Discount Store, previously sewn for another engagement, than to order something new.  This works for her on two levels, in terms of both reuse and saving money. Often the dollars saved will go towards the purchase of other sustainable items, which can sometimes be more costly upfront than non-sustainable goods.

Product: Red Velour swagged legs and border and a Muslin drop painted by Showman Fabricators
Peter and the Starcatcher- Brooks Atkinson Theatre
Director: Roger Rees, Alex Timbers
Costume Designer: Paloma Young
Lighting Designer: Jeff Croiter
Set Design: Showman Fabricators
Design: Donyale Werle

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Discount Store

Ominous Cotton Scrim Scenic Design Installation Using Projection & Lighting Techniques

by RB 31. May 2013 04:19

Designer Ivy Flores created this gorgeous installation with the ominous title, “A Scenic View of the End of the World.” The installation consisted of hanging strips of cotton scrim arranged within a cave-like structure so that viewers could walk into the center of the space and look outwards. Four projectors lit the fabric strips by beaming a panoramic animation outwards from the center of the space. The effect was ethereal. 

Cotton scrim is commonly used in theaters, special events and other interior settings for quick economical swags and billows that are light as a feather.  Ivy selected this ultra-fine gauzy fabric so that light would pass through the material with minimal effect on the layer behind it.  soft and durable qualities made it perfect for an exhibit that users were encouraged to walk through, touch and move. 

View more images of designer Ivy Flores’s installation in our portfolio.  Watch the video of the experience by clicking the link below. 

A Scenic View of the End of the World

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High Performance, Cost Effective Fabric Projection Screens

by RB 2. May 2013 04:01

See projection artist Ross Ashton's FANTASTIC sound & light show, celebrating Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts 50th anniversary. The front of the Hopkins Center features several enormous arched windows, each of which was covered with a Rose Brand Tendo fabric projection screen and attached to the steel window frame via Rose Brand ClikMagnets.

Tendo fabric provides for an exceptional projection screen. It's highly reflective, lights evenly and cost effective. It's also stretchable and lightweight, making it much easier to install than traditional vinyl screens. Wrinkles simply stretch away. The lightweight aspect of the fabric enabled installation onto the steel window frames with our convenient ClikMagnet product. If you'd like to read more about how the effects for this event were achieved, the projectors used, etc. please see the article that appears on the Live Design blog.

 

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Event | Projection | Special Effects

Art of The Event, Inc. Transforms Hotel Ballroom Into Perfect Holiday Environment for Corporate Party

by RB 19. March 2013 10:01

Art of The Event, a Boston based full service event design, decor and planning company, was the winner of our 2012 Holiday Party Photo Contest. Here's their description of how they transformed an ordinary hotel ballroom into the perfect environment to achieve their client's objectives.

Our client scheduled their holiday party at Boston’s Liberty Hotel, a chic, modern venue that has a lot of local flavor. Once the Charles Street Jail, there are wrought iron, spiral stairs, bars on the windows, and exposed brick walls.  The grand ballroom is a contemporary space, with 3000 square feet of space, floor to ceiling windows, and wrought iron chandeliers. Art of the Event was asked to transform this space into a “Clubby Winter Wonderland” and gleefully took on the task.

With nearly a full room wrap of luxurious white sheers, we created texture and movement in the space. Blue up-lighting set the tone of a modern club, with white snowflake projections creating a snowfall effect. This combination of elements really set the mood, as the sheers took it the light effects and grabbed the light. The center piece of the room was a shining white dance floor, and just off of that our contemporary, serpentine white couch set.  White glow side tables and low cocktails broke up the room, adding layers of height. Our cocktail-height share tables were a delightful focal point in the corners of the room, and are dining room sized with mirror top, accented with elegant white florals and surrounded by clear, Lucite bar stools. Our white paneled glow bar, in front of the dance floor was a crowd pleaser, at 14 feet long and with functional barback.

This event was a success, with the client’s staff dancing the night away and their company president praising the ambiance we created. It was a pleasure working with their team, as well as the Liberty event staff, and we’re looking forward to the next holiday season, and all the transformations we can bring!

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Spotlight on Design | Event

Rose Brand Fabricates 335’ Curtain for Ann Hamilton Art Installation

by RB 4. December 2012 14:15

Rose Brand is proud to have worked with artist Ann Hamilton on her uniquely interactive art installation, "The Event of a Thread," featured at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC. The artist drew inspiration from the Armory's enormous 55,000-sq ft Wade Thompson Drill Hall, as the installation itself is massive.

The exhibit features 42 swings, intended for visitor use, which animate a giant 335' curtain. Visitors engage on a multi-dimensional level as they interact with one another on the swings and simultaneously experience the flow of the curtain, readings, sounds, and live performance.

Rose Brand sewed the massive, white silk curtain that connects to the 42 swings through a series of ropes and pulleys. It took 76 widths of silk fabric to complete the curtain, which is curved at the top and reaches a height of over 41'. Discussion between Ann Hamilton and Rose Brand's Isabel Martinez determined the final seaming and finishing. Sewers used the 4-thread method for seaming as well as bottom and side finishing, to provide the strongest and least visible seam possible on the silk fabric. The top finish consisted of white twill webbing covered in the same white silk fabric, with grommets on 18” centers.

The exhibit opens on December 5, 2012 and continues through mid-January.


Visit http://bit.ly/rb-customsewing to see other custom sewing projects and to more fully understand the breadth of Rose Brand's custom sewing capability; or call 800-223-1624 to speak with a Rose Brand rep about your project.

View photos of the exhibit here.

Rose Brand Constructs the Largest Compound Curved Indoor Screen Ever Created for Beyonce's Humanitarian Day Performance

by RB 25. September 2012 06:40

On August 10, 2012 special guests of the United Nations filled the General Assembly Hall in New York to celebrate World Humanitarian Day. This day honors the humanitarian efforts that take place across the globe and seeks to motivate active participation in social causes. During the event, Beyoncé inspired the crowd with a performance in front of projected images of humanitarians working and helping those in need. At the request of the SuperUber design company, Rose Brand developed the projection screen for the event, the largest compound curved indoor screen ever created.

The 1,000 pound, 46’ high x 224’ wide screen was pieced together in Rose Brand’s NJ warehouse by a team of sewers who worked around the clock for two days due to the urgency of the task. Once hung, the screen molded to the unique architecture of the General Assembly Hall. Building a screen of this magnitude, in a room that was not designed for theatrical lighting projections, made the choice of screen fabric particularly important. SuperUber chose the white/white blackout lining after testing a number of fabrics, due to its opaque characteristics. It insured that light would not transmit behind the screen, and it created a flawless projection surface.


After fabricating and transporting the massive screen to the UN, Rose Brand provided a complete rigging package and installation service with the help of the Local 1 Stagehands. Due to the lack of rigging points, permanent steel plates had to be welded into the existing structure in order to support the weight of the 6,000 pound supergrid system. Once installed, the screen was comprised of ten synchronized and mapped projections that created one giant image. The screen surrounded the audience with a 240 degree immersive projection, creating an unforgettable and inspirational experience for those in attendance.

 

Learn more about Rose Brand's Projection Solutions.

View behind the scenes photos on our Facebook Page.

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Custom Sewing | Event | Projection | Spotlight on Design

Rose Brand's Best Scenic Design Winner - David Court

by RB 25. June 2012 08:43

Rose Brand recently hosted the Rose Brand and Fan Choice Awards on our social media sites. Nominees were asked to provide a photo of one of their projects to be voted on by Rose Brand Employees as well as fans on Facebook and Pinterest. The award for best scenic design went to David Court, for his work on "Waiting For Godot" which was performed at the Sudbury Theatre Center last October.

Scenic designer, David Court currently resides in Windsor, Ontario. As a freelance Scenic Designer and Artist, David’s designs have been used in productions at University Players, The Capitol Theatre, The Chrysler Theatre, The Bonstelle Theatre, Sudbury Theatre Centre, The Young Centre for the Performing Arts, The Hilberry Theatre , and Cogeco television.

 

Aside from his freelance work, David is an instructor at University of Windsor and St. Clair College where he teaches “Stagecraft and Scene Painting for the Theatre” and “Scenic Art.”


Please visit David’s Facebook Page to view more of his work.

 

 

 

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Rose Brand Constructs Enormous Cylindrical Projection Screen for Pan Am Games Opening Ceremony.

by RB 20. June 2012 08:43

Every four years, athletes from countries of the Americas compete in the Pan American Games.   Each year, the host country tries to outdo their predecessor by creating a spectacular artistic presentation in the opening ceremony.  The 2011 games taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico were no exception with an Opening Ceremony reportedly costing $20 million.

Rose Brand was instrumental in the construction of the focal point of the ceremony, a three dimensional moving projection screen.  The screen's steel frame boasted a circumference of 350 feet and hung in the center of the stadium.  The projection screen, made out of Rose Brand’s Rip Stop Nylon, was 104 feet tall and offered a 360° cylindrical projection surface.

PRG Technologies, the engineer on the project, engaged Rose Brand to build the projection screen in just a single week.  In order to fabricate the three dimensional screen, Rose Brand sewed together 3,200 yards of Rip Stop Nylon. The screens were made up of two pairs of panels measuring  104’9” x 98’ and 104’9” x 51’. The enormous projection screens, equivalent in height to a ten story building, were adorned with 3,600 D-rings that were hand sewn onto the panels to give the projection screen mobility. View the sewing plans used by Rose Brand here: projection screen plans.pdf

The halo at the top consisted of 72 overlapping fabric panels each measuring 22 feet in length. Since it was critical that each panel's measurements were identical, we used Rose Brand's Precision Laser Cutting process to ensure accuracy. View the sewing plans for the halo here: halo plans.pdf

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