[07/08/05 - 12:00 AM]
Sci Fi Channel Debuts Innovative Exhibition Environment at Comic-Con in San Diego

[via press release from Sci Fi]


NEW YORK -- JULY 5, 2005 -- SCI FI Channel, a fast-growing division of NBC Universal, debuts its highly innovative exhibition environment at Comic-Con International 2005, the July show from 14-17 in San Diego, California. Created by Graft, a full-service Los Angeles-based architecture firm with satellite offices in Berlin and Beijing, the iconic booth suggests new frontiers for the possible � and new answers for the �what ifs� of design. The completely portable booth premiers at Comic-Con, and SCI FI plans to use it as an extension of the brand at other events. Conceived as an expression of SCI FI�s culture of imagination, the 19-foot high, 30-foot by 60-foot structure incorporates meeting, greeting, lounging, and viewing areas within a structure remarkable for its sculptural, virtually ectoplasmic exterior.

Says Adam Stotsky, SCI FI senior vice president marketing and creative: �Our objective is to bring the SCI FI brand to life in this extraordinary three-dimensional environment. We try to fuel the imagination of our viewers through fantastical ideas. Sometimes the ideas are programming based, here they�re experiential.� Comic-Con, Stotsky adds, provides an opportunity for the network to connect with its most loyal fans: �We want to give back to them by providing a first-look at upcoming programming and an exclusive experience that only they can enjoy.�

Finding the right design partner for this project, says Stotsky, involved finding a firm that could match the design innovation that has always been central to the SCI FI brand. �Graft understood the SCI FI brand in its entirety, and provided a solution which serves as a three-dimensional extension of what we do on our channel and website. We couldn�t have asked for a better partner on this project.�

Notable design features of the Fiberglas-and-steel environment include individual components measuring no more than 9 foot by 9 foot by 40 foot, an enclosed interior office, built-in lounge seating, a talent signing area, computer station, imbedded audio and video projection systems, storage and display space. One of the booth�s chief features is its capacity to change signage and imagery at will both inside and out, thanks to an extremely innovative and technologically advanced �intelligent� lighting system that projects a changing array of custom graphics onto down-facing surfaces, constantly animating the booth�s exterior and interior.

Research and development are key elements of Graft�s design process. To develop the folds and warps of the exterior surfaces and to refine the curved perimeters and voluptuous spaces of the interior volumes, the Graft design team modeled the booth in a variety of media, beginning with 3D-computer technology and ending with a full-scale prototype made of foam. To further enhance the visitor�s experience of being within shifting surroundings, the designers chose light-reactive finishes that change color depending on the ambient illumination and the viewer�s perspective: the lilac pearl high gloss enamel on the sculpture looks grey in one light and softly purple in another; the reflective surface of the floor evolves seamlessly from dark grey to silver to purple.

As those who visit the sci-fi environment at Comic-Con or future designated venues will see, Graft�s design for the SCI FI booth is a multi-media extravaganza that incorporates images of the natural, the supernatural, the animate, the scientific, the magical, the fantastical, the mythical or legendary: in other words, it is the many, varied, and always evolving realm of sci-fi.

SCI FI Channel is a television network where "what if" is what's on. SCI FI fuels the imagination of viewers with original series and events, blockbuster movies and classic science fiction and fantasy programming, as well as a dynamic Web site (www.scifi.com) and magazine. Launched in 1992, and currently in 85 million homes, SCI FI Channel is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies.

Graft, an award-winning full-service architecture practice with offices in Los Angeles, Berlin, and Beijing, is rapidly gaining a reputation for its risk-taking but disciplined adventures in form and structure. Since principals Lars Krukeberg, Wolfram Putz, and Thomas Willemeit established their office in Los Angeles in 1998, it has completed commissions across the spectrum of building types from fine arts and educational institutions to exhibition spaces and art installations to commercial and residential structures in such diverse locales as Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, France, the U.S., and Mexico. The firm has also pursued projects in such related fields as music and the think-tank style seminars and collective happenings it calls �eventings.� Graft�s resounded successes have impelled it to expand globally: from its initial Los Angeles outpost, it transplanted its ethos to Berlin in 2001, and Beijing in 2003. Among Graft�s more memorable projects to date are Hotel Q in Berlin (winner of numerous awards, including Travel + Leisure magazine�s Design Award 2005), a wildly popular restaurant in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and the conversion of a Mercedes van into a luxury limousine.

Graft is a philosophy of existence as well as a technique of hybridization that marries one typology, or species, or culture to another in order to generate � or regenerate � health and growth and, ultimately, inspired and imaginative iterations of the familiar. Krukeberg, Putz, and Willemeit, as well as Gregor Hoheisel, principal of Graft, Beijing, epitomize the culture of transplant that informs their firm�s work, and that gave rise to the firm�s name. The principals met as architecture students at the Technische Universitat Braunschweig in Braunschweig, Germany; Krukeberg and Putz went on to further design investigations at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (Sci-Arc) prior to establishing the firm.

  [july 2005]  

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