A Thematic Setting for a Local Business


A Thematic Setting for a Local Business

A local customer came to us with an intriguing project: They wanted an art piece that would also function as an almost therapeutic environment for their clients. Their idea was to install a wall hanging that would incorporate working gears and tactile aspects to offer entertainment through kinetic manipulation. The challenge for DH Schmidt was to build a steampunk-like piece that worked the way it should and could be installed easily in the existing space.

The Challenges

The challenges related to this project had to do with the look, function, and weight of the materials used.

  • Unlike a static installation, this project needed to be dynamic, which made precise construction all the more important. The gears needed to move, so builders took plenty of time to line up the teeth correctly and integrate the various parts of the design.
  • Another important consideration was the weight of the project and the torque required to make it function safely and consistently.
  • While the piece was made primarily of wood and laminate, it was customized to have the look of steel. This took color and material considerations on the part of the designers to get the surface material just right without adding to the weight of the project.
  • Coordination was the final hurdle: teams had to transport the final product, unpack it, and put the puzzle pieces together. Instructions had to be crystal clear so that installation wasn’t disruptive to staff or clients.

DH Schmidt’s Solutions: Three Dimensional Puzzle Pieces, Installed within 6 Weeks

To overcome these obstacles and create a product that would have constructive benefits for its users, the team at DH Schmidt used engineering skills, trial and error, and plain old common sense:

Solution 1: Before construction began, our designers chose the right materials to make the wall piece as light as possible, and then worked out the physics of the project.

Solution 2: As each piece of the installation was built, our team proofed and tested every inch of it to make sure the gears worked properly and the piece would be resilient enough to last for years to come.

Solution 3: When it came to color and material options, we took our time, working with our vendors to gain access to all types of wood and laminate. Powder coating turned out to be our best option. We looked at real-world examples of steel and tinkered with the product to get it just right.

Solution 4: Finally, we created a complete set of accurate drawings and labels to make installation as clear as possible.


The Final Product: A Blast from the Past that We Were Proud to Build

While we never imagined we’d be making gears out of particle board and laminate, we were proud of the hard work we put into this visually stunning project. This project moved us out of our typical niche into the realm of functional art. It requested a faithful bit of imagineering and resulted in an environment the owner and clients hopefully enjoy for years to come.

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