Touchdown! Football and FX Kick off the 2014 Design Season

On August 14, 2014 all of San Francisco and the Bay area, along with Paul McCartney, said goodbye to Candlestick Park, or as the locals lovingly call it, “The Stick.”  While many are nostalgic at seeing the end of the Stick, others can’t wait to see the massive and long awaited Levi’s Stadium.

So what does FX have to do with this?  We had the privilege of designing the new broadcast set for the new stadium.  With the soon to launch of the newest FX Design Set at Levi’s Stadium, the cool factor just took a giant leap.

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“It was an honor to design this set, said Stephen Ricker, lead designer on the project.  “When you get to put your creative skills on overload with a colorful, contemporary, innovative project such as this, it takes your abilities to a different level.”

Ricker also describes how FX wanted to reflect the 49er’s new state-of-the-art stadium by creating a high-tech, versatile broadcast environment. Every set piece contains video or color-changing surfaces, including the three by five by 46″ moving video wall and the LED video floor. Completely changing the entire look and the branding takes only a few clicks for utmost versatility.

The concept was to develop a literal gridiron with the shapes and textures within the set. The desk is bold and industrial-chic with a rough metallic texture surrounding the internally lit and technical elements.

“We certainly couldn’t have put together such a forward-thinking design without the support and encouragement of Rob Alberino, the EP at the 49ers, and his willingness to push the limits,” Ricker said.

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The 49ers set combines several technological elements. The stage/deck/platform is one of the most complicated FX has built in almost thirty years of its existence. The LED video stage surface has to appear nearly seamless as well as support the oversized broadcast desk and on-air talent.

This was a rare example where a specialized scenic artist was used. The design indicated a certain textured pattern across the floor, desk, upper lighted elements and other pieces. A professional scenic artist was hired to apply this finish to the desk and some of the other parts, while utilizing wide format printing on others in order to realize our designer’s vision.

The moving monitor arrays took a fair bit of engineering to accommodate the design and yet stay within the narrowest space possible.

“Another unique aspect to this project was engineering everything to be seismically safe in an earthquake prone area.  We also used inherently fire retardant materials including the plywood,” said Brannen Acor, Director of Production at FX.

“Our sports projects give our designers and artisans room to experiment, create new elements and serve up ground-breaking ideas,” said Bonnie Barclay, VP of Marketing.  “To say we are proud of the 49er’s set is an understatement at best.”

It’s coming soon, so watch for it.

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