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design for interactive experiences.

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Fermilab Visitor Center

For my thesis project at FIT, I designed a visitor center for the Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory.

When I started this project, Fermilab had recently decommissioned their Tevatron experiment and they were considering opening the giant ring accelerator to tours, which would help to show the importance of particle physics to the general public. My project was divided the exhibit into three segments:

Fermilab’s Future: answering questions about why particle physics is studied by showing applications in medical imaging, aeronautics, communication, data storage, etc.

Frontier Introduction: a brief intro that gives visitors a sense of the minute scale of the particles and forces that are being studied, and an explanation of the three different frontiers of study (Energy, Intensity, Cosmic.)

Physics Frontiers: presenting interactive examples of Fermilab’s experiments – showing how teamwork is involved in making new discoveries in particle physics.

BayWa ZLF Trade Show – Demonstration Walls

BayWa requested a display that would demonstrate some of the money-saving qualities of their building materials. I worked in Illustrator to design multiple graphic layout concepts, and then Vectorworks to further refine details of the designs. Max Schmidt Von Braun was in charge of this project, and the final three images show the finished result set up at the trade show.

BayWa ZLF Trade Show – Tractor Unveiling

A new model of tractor was scheduled to be introduced by BayWa at this year’s ZLF trade show, and I worked on some initial concepts for the placeholder to stand in the new tractor’s spot until the new tractor arrived on site, sketch ideas for how the curtain could be pulled away from the tractor, design and render more finished images, and assemble presentation slides to be shown to the client – complete with fog machine!

BayWa ZLF Trade Show – Gift Shop

At Heilmaier Messedesign, I used Vectorworks to plan out shelving for the gift shop at BayWa’s exhibit at the ZLF agricultural trade show. I also used Photoshop to add details to these early renderings. The final image is of the exterior of the main BayWa trade show structure, which contained the gift shop.

BayWa ZLF Trade Show – Rotating Columns

I worked with Max Pollner on the design, modeling, and graphics of two columns of rectangular forms that visitors could rotate to create different combinations. The first two images are my Vectorworks renderings, and the third image is a later, more finished rendering by another designer.

Heilmaier Messedesign – 3D Modeling & Graphics

I worked on some graphics for Kennemetal’s parking signs, 3D modeling for a cow milking machine, and planning for the stripe graphics at the BayWa exhibit at this year’s ZLF agricultural trade show in Munich.

Exhibit City News

Larry Kulchawik penned this nice article about some of the FIT internships, including mine at Heilmaier Messedesign. Click on the link below to check it out.

Students get a jump start in the exhibit industry

Heilmaier Messedesign Internship

This summer I worked as an intern at the Exhibit Design firm Heilmaier Messedesign in Munich, Germany as the final step to complete my Exhibit Design degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

I wasn’t expecting my work to find its way into the hands of clients so quickly, but I found myself in the middle of a very busy time at Heilmaier – they were preparing for an agricultural trade show taking place alongside Oktoberfest – so deadlines were fast approaching. As soon as I finished some of my designs – whoosh! They were assembled into presentations and shown to the client. It felt nice to know that I was producing something that was useful to the company. I think that was my biggest surprise – realizing that FIT had taught me skills that were truly valuable!

After working individually on many of my projects at FIT, it was nice to be working as part of a team at Heilmaier – it gave me a chance to meet the designers and learn from them more about working in Exhibit Design.

Cereal Boxes for Hooper’s Store

I made two new cereal boxes to place on the shelves of Hooper’s Store. When I was pasting new labels onto the old cereal boxes, I discovered that the cereal in the box had expired in 1999! We’re at work right now preparing for Season 44 – there are so many details that need to be refreshed.

Magazines for Hooper’s Store – Sesame Street

The magazines for Hooper’s Store were getting kinda ratty, so I made a few new issues to add to the shelves and spruce the place up in preparation for season 44. I was using random photos from my camera’s memory card, hence the odd topics – like “Quackers,” the magazine for ducks who like to eat crackers, and “Pierogi Party,” a childrens’ magazine all about dumplings.

Cookie Connoisseur’s Club Menu

I designed a menu for an episode of Sesame Street where Cookie Monster auditions to join the Cookie Connoisseur’s Club, led by David Hyde Pierce as “Commander Chiphead.” The menu features such treats as snickerdoodles and shortbread and crystallized ginger cookies.

Here is a clip from the episode:

Back at Sesame Street!

After a break between seasons that was long enough for me to complete a masters degree (Museum and Exhibit Design at FIT,) Sesame Street is going back into production, and I’ll be returning to make props and graphics for the show from now until the season wraps up in the middle of December.

I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces, both human and puppet, and spending time making things out of construction paper and glitter. Luckily there are a few “dark weeks” in the schedule to allow time for me to put the finishing touches on my portfolio and compile a list of exhibit and museum design companies that will be receiving resumes. If you have any suggestions of places that might be a good fit, please let me know!

My desk is just how I left it!

Exhibitor 2012!

I’m in Las Vegas for the next few days to visit Exhibitor 2012 – a trade show for the museum and exhibit design industry. My website is a blog of my projects, so I added this post with some of my favorite exhibit-related projects for any interested folks from the show that visit my site.


Coney Island Disaster!
I designed this event to appear to be a giant squid crashing towards the Coney Island Boardwalk. It needed to be bold to compete with the ferris wheel, roller coaster, and sideshow.

Funnel Cake Exhibit
This exhibit was designed to give visitors a sense of what funnel cake was like, without serving any funnel cake on premises. (funnel cake is a fun, messy, twisty pile of dough and sugar.)


Bread Clip Lamp
I made this lamp for a project at FIT. The shade is built up of hundreds of clips from bread bags, with the arrangement designed to give a bit of a gradient from the top to bottom of the shade. I really like the shadows that the lamp creates!

Puppet Stage for Miss Piggy
This stage was made for an event featuring an appearance by Miss Piggy. It was constructed to knock-down quickly so that the setup could be very fast.

Balancing Rock Pedestals for DeBeers
I made these pedestals out from faux rocks I carved from foam. They are connected by steel rods, which give them the appearance of a balancing act.

Halloween Monster – 2011

I needed to make a last-minute Halloween costume, so I glued together this mask from an old cardboard box, feathers leftover from a stork puppet I made a while back, and some felt, pipe cleaners, and – of course – a handful of plastic googly eyes.

Hamish and Andy – Racing Trash Cans

I modified two trash cans with seats and little wheels so that they could compete in a slow and sneaky race in Central Park.

This prop was used in an Australian show called “Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year.”

Hamish and Andy – Giant Baby Carriage

I made this giant baby carriage so that a grownup could fit inside. It uses heavyweight plywood, BMX wheels, and welded steel to support a big person. Katie Akana and Jessie Voris handled the fabric and upholstery, And Katie also served as test pilot for a race down the hallway of the woodshop.

This prop was used in an Australian show called “Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year.”

Rainbow Lamp – Brooklyn Childrens’ Museum

I designed this lamp for a weather-themed lighting scheme for a FIT project set in the Brooklyn Childrens’ Museum. The idea of the lighting scheme is that lighting would be used to show weather changes – projectors would show animated clouds, and lightning would be simulated with strobe lights, among other effects. After the thunder and lightning passed through the space, this rainbow lamp would light up as sunlight returned to the space. The rainbow effect is created by shining light through a spectrum-gradient printed transparency, which lights acrylic rods. The rods are cut to different lengths so that different colors appear as bands at different heights.


Ralph Lauren – Storyboards

Sometimes I’m called on to create classy drawings for Polo-Ralph Lauren. Here are some panels from two different storyboarding projects – one for a commercial, and the other for an instructional video about decorative painting.

Earthbound Farm – Trade Show Exhibit

Earthbound farm is a giant grower of organic foods, so for this FIT exhibit design project, I created a display with a giant display that is part farm tractor, part tractor trailer, and part shopping cart, to emphasize the connections between the farm, shipping, and the grocery store. The various displays also emphasize connections – between the grocers attending the conference and between the company and the grocers.

Rubin Museum of Art

I was part of a group of FIT students to redesign the lobby and second floor gallery at the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art. One of the big challenges was that the Introduction to Himalayan Art exhibit on the second floor has two different entrances, each with two ways to start going through the exhibit. My plan was to create dividers to lead visitors through the content in the proper sequence.

Kikkerland Trade Show Counters

I fabricated these two counters for Kikkerland’s 2012 trade shows. They both have lightbox faces made out of acrylic covered with adhesive vinyl. The client wanted the acrylic to go all the way to the edge of the counter, so the plastic was applied before the laminate, and then the laminate was applied over the edge. One of the counters has a top design to hold a computer. I built these counters for Abunch LLC.