Set pieces, decorations and booths for a web conference

By | 12/11/2014
Trees, pallet stalls, a coffee booth and some arrow signs. (Photo: Thomas Winther)

Trees, pallet stalls, a coffee booth and some arrow signs. (Photo: Thomas Winther)

For the 2014 edition of WebdageneNetlife Research‘s annual web conference, I made quite a few different things. The picture above shows a partial selection of the stuff I built:

  • Sponsor stalls built from standard Euro pallets, a top plate and some standard boards and planks. I made 9 of these, in varying sizes and configurations (signs were painted by Netlife Research).
  • A coffee booth in the form of a cottage set piece, with fancy jigsaw puzzle joinery on the front and a proper scaffolding on the back to keep it upright.
  • A bunch of arrow signs and stands for them (right hand side of the picture).
  • 15 spruce shaped set pieces with two different heights (160 and 180 cm tall).

The building of the trees presented a few challenges, mainly due to a bit of material shortage.

Netlife’s original wish was to have them built from mint green Valchromat, which turned out to be a bit hard to get a hold of within the limited time available. The local supplier only had a few plates of varying thickness, so we ended up using some green, moisture resistant MDF for about half of the trees instead.

The varying thicknesses and two different materials meant I had to adjust the drawings and CNC toolpaths through several iterations, as well as do multiple tolerance tests to make sure everything fit snugly, while still being possible to disassemble.

To get the most out of the available material, I also decided to change the way the trees were built. The original plan was to simply have two tree silhouettes with a vertical slot halfway from the top or bottom, and then just slide them together. This would effectively double the material usage on the larger trees, though, so I ended up splitting one of the silhouettes in two, flipping the two halves upside down and placing them on each side of the full silhouette on the milling cutsheet. These two half silhouettes would then connect with each other through the full silhouette and be secured with wedges. A bit hard to explain through text, so here’s a picture of it!

Tree construction principle. This particular specimen is a scaled down version I made as a sort of elaborate Christmas greeting to a few of my customers.

Tree construction principle. This particular specimen is a scaled down version I made as a sort of elaborate Christmas greeting to a few of my customers. (Photo: Thomas Winther)

And here’s a picture of two of the full scale trees, assembled and ready.

A closer look at the trees

A closer look at two full size trees. (Photo: Thomas Winther)

Netlife Research wanted their own pallet stalls painted in their signature green. Here’s a picture of them. Next to the larger one, there’s the “wishing tree” that I also made. Sadly, I was too busy building to get a proper picture of it, but the idea was that conference guests would pick a note from the basket, write a wish for their company on it and hang it on the tree’s branches.

Netlife stand and wishing tree

Netlife stand and wishing tree. (Photo: Thomas Winther)

Netlife also wanted five simple tents to act as semi-private hangout spots. Here’s a finished frame, showing the collapsible construction. Note the bottom straps, keeping the tent from kneeling.

An unclothed tent frame, showing the construction principle

An unclothed tent frame, showing the construction principle. (Photo: Thomas Winther)

Netlife sewed the tent fabric themselves and dressed it all up with cushions:

Finished tent with cloth Netlife-sewn cloth and pillows for the visitors to plop themselves down on

Finished tent with Netlife-sewn cloth and pillows for the visitors to plop themselves down on. (Photo: Thomas Winther)

And finally, they wanted a campfire built. That’s a literal “built”, as it had to be sturdy enough to not fall over if someone bumped into it. So, the whole thing is kept together with screws and glue, with a few loose logs leaning on the main construction for good measure. The concept for this campfire was that people would gather round it to have their phones, tablets and various other electronic paraphernalia charged, whilst socializing freely. That may sound a bit silly, but it worked like a charm and it turned into a very popular spot.

The symbolic bonfire for socializing and the charging of phones etc

The symbolic bonfire for socializing and the charging of phones and other peripherals. (Photo: Thomas Winther)

For this project, Netlife Research provided me with concept drawings and a few starter Illustrator files, and it was up to me to do detailed construction drawings where necessary and figure out the practicalities of how to make everything sturdy and fit for purpose. And actually build all of it, of course!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *