CNC Routed Frogs

For Shedd Aquarium
at Water Tower Place

tHE pROJECT

Our friends at the Shedd Aquarium came to us with a unique opportunity. They wanted us to design and fabricate an installation at the Water Tower Place Shopping Mall in Chicago as an environmental marketing campaign.

the challenge

This concept needed to be bold enough to compete with the visual stimulation of Water Tower Place’s 135-foot-tall central atrium. On top of that, it needed to communicate an impression of these creatures in their natural habitats. Our challenge was to display them in a fashion that allowed for viewers on all sides, top and bottom, to deliberately stage them to the viewers. In the end, these amazing animals speak for themselves!

the PROCESS

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?

Bigger and Better

How does one begin to make gargantuan amphibians? Well, in order for us to really get our hands dirty, we actually worked with anatomically-correct 3D models of these creatures. With the tools we used, we were successful in terms of “dissecting” the virtual frog shapes. Afterwards we 3D carved 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! The sheer thickness of the parts reduced the amount needed for each frog— which naturally reduced post-fabrication time.

the PROCESS

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!

How we Hopped to it

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. However, we were up to the challenge and after two nights of careful installation, we were able to create full exposure for these frogs without using specimen pins.

The End Result

As you can see, we completely filled that huge atrium space with our colorful amphibians! All the time spent pre-planning, visualizing and sweating the details for these challenges, allowed us to give these amazing creatures the coverage they deserved.

To see how we can bring your ideas to life, please get in touch!

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All Case Studies