Bobby Redd got in touch with us to talk about the idea of building custom store fixtures and a unique consumer environment for The Black Tux Retail Store that was opening in Chicago.
As excited as we were about taking on this new project for an up and coming business, we had to work hard to design and fabricate many beneficial experiential elements for one shopping space. Additionally, we wanted to ensure that all of the completed fixtures met the need for durable, high end finishes.
Let's talk about the process. This project had many challenges. First of all, the whole scenic design was to be viewed from a full 360 degrees. Secondly, the elements needed to be lightweight but strong. Installing anything from hanging points 135-feet in the air is not easy. How does one begin to make gargantuan amphibians?
Some elements to enhance shoppers’ experiences included: custom clothing racks for products, a DJ Credenza, a floor-to-ceiling length mirror for shoppers to see how everything fits, a custom point of sale cube, graphics as well as a customized Chicago themed mini golf hole inside of the store.
Well, we actually worked with anatomically-correct 3D models of these critters. As a result, we were able to “dissect” the frog shapes virtually, 3D carve them on our CNC router, then reassemble the parts back into their final shapes. Luckily, custom-engineered tooling allowed us to CNC carve in 12″ thick sections!
We wanted to do so much more than par for the course, so each fixture we created was a blend of metal & wood construction to provide the necessary durability for these structures. Some materials we found useful and imperative to include were: waterfall steel edges over finished maple, custom mirror framing, structural steel bending and mitering and maple carving, bending and veneer work. Every finish was a mix of blackened steel and finished maple (both tung oil and stain).
Finally, we were up to the challenge of installing the frogs from hanging points 135-feet in the air. After two nights of careful installation, we were able to create full exposure for these frogs without using specimen pins.
We were especially grateful for the overall intimate nature of the environment this project was created in because each small detail, such as custom milled end caps for the steel and carvings for the thicker maple, were given the proper attention throughout the design process. We were so glad we were able to bring Black Tux’s vision of an elegant, curated and experiential shopping process to life.