Designing a Sleek, Mobile, and High Occupancy Tailgate Experience for IMG
September 15, 2014
Design is the first step in turning a vision, an idea, or a request into a reality. It’s not an easy, nor a straightforward process, but rather more like an evolution. When IMG asked us to create a one-of-a-kind tailgate environment to sit outside the stadiums at some of the biggest college football games of the year, we knew that our initial design would morph over the course of the nine-month project. We set to work designing a striking space that would meet practical needs and dazzle fans.
The Design Challenge: Sleek And Mobile
IMG had a specific list of criteria that we took into consideration when designing their space:
- Stylistically, they wanted a vibe that was high on hospitality and underscored the end user’s comfort and enjoyment.
- From an engineering standpoint, the design was large scale: it had to accommodate a 200-250 person occupancy and an incredible amount of foot traffic, as it would be located just outside of stadiums at high-profile games such as the Georgia-Florida match in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Rose Bowl and BCS Championship games in Pasadena, California.
- The space would also have to be durable: a single event could last over 30 hours from set-up to teardown.
- The structure had to be built in such a way as to withstand potential bad weather in any part of North America.
- And, of course, the whole thing had to be mobile.
With these guidelines in mind, we began creating a structure designed to meet IMG’s specifications.
Our Design Process In Action: Collaborative Evolution
When we brought our initial design to IMG, they were thrilled with the direction of the project and inspired to collaborate with us. In a series of one-on-one meetings, we worked together to flush out their full vision and dig into the details. Gradually, our original design morphed into something bigger, better, and sleeker—a more accurate depiction of the client’s complete design dream.
Throughout the entire process we were in constant communication with IMG – sending images back and forth as new considerations came to mind and additional needs were identified. When we proposed changes, we’d include sample sheets and samples of the materials so that the team at IMG could see exactly what impact those changes would have on the overall design.
Suffice it to say, the finalized design looked nothing like our original. But that’s all part of the evolution of a project: you start with something good, and you let it grow into something even better.
Preparing For Anything: Safety Protocols and Testing
Before we can execute a great design, it’s heavily vetted by a third party of unbiased engineers to spot any safety concerns we may have overlooked. Once our design is approved for a range of safety concerns from hurricane-level winds to heavy snow-loads, we develop and test the space, always keeping the end user in mind. There’s also constant communication with our vendors, particularly on the IMG project, as the tent vendor provided the membrane we used to add height and depth to the final design.
We never leave anything to chance. Before IMG’s activation, we performed a dry run in our parking lot from start to finish as a way to anticipate potential problems, make final adjustments, and to prepare the set-up crew. Knowing that site conditions can affect the safety and set-up time of a space, we also tested the site in Florida a week in advance of the first activation as a way to discover potential environmental challenges, such as uneven ground, puddles, etc.
Our goal for IMG, like every project we take on, was that there would be no surprises on activation day.
The End Result: A Successful Deployment
For IMG, we connected several containers together, and ensured a continuous floor space to create the feeling of a cohesive unit. At the end of the space we created a focal point with a 40-foot Jumbotron TV.
We used a series of membranes to give the user a sense of threshold and a courtyard to welcome visitors with clearly defined interior and exterior spaces. Along the perimeter of the core section, we created alcoves that were more secluded, perfect for friends and fans to gather for a conversation.
Though the design of the space differed substantially from the initial design, the final product remained true to the original goal: provide a sleek, modern, stylish, and highly mobile tailgate space. The activation of the IMG Playmaker’s Club in both Florida and California went off without a hitch and received high praise from event patrons, as well as our client.
Design plays an integral part in every Boxman Studios project. Factoring in safety, mobility and style, we work to make each client’s vision a reality. Often – as in the case of IMG – this means that the design evolves over time. The keys to moving the design in the right direction are flexibility, creativity, and, of course, effective collaboration.