When COVID arrived last March, the first thing Transformit thought of was how will all of the restaurants in Portland survive without the space needed for safe social distancing. Rolling walls seemed like a good idea to augment the actual distance with a fabric barrier.
This is Part I on our experience working with schools to create solutions for outdoor classrooms. Stay tuned for Part II: Outdoor Classrooms for Portland Schools.
Transformit was asked to provide quotes for dozens of outdoor classrooms to be used at a public school in Maine. The Cares Act had provided the township with a budget to work with, and they needed to research the best places to invest their resources. Cindy and Tom came out the next day to spend two hours walking the Elementary, Middle, and High School combined campus. It was a hot day, and you could certainly understand that the students would need shade in order to concentrate and even see their laptops. There were many wonderful ideas and requests for us to consider:
In our new reality of surviving during COVID-19, in-person events are no longer safe. We are learning to accept virtual events to fill the void, but sitting in front of a monitor watching someone speak in front of a green screen is a far cry from experiencing a live stage production. Transformit has been creating stage productions designed for video production for many years. While TEDx events are staged in front of a live audience, the majority of the viewers of these events are watching the presentations online.
When the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospitals and health care facilities became apparent, we began reaching out to our peers in the fabrics industry, to state officials, and to local hospitals to see how our fabric design and fabrication resources could help create personal protective equipment (PPE). As it turns out, our search led us just up the road to our neighbors, Flowfold.
|This is Leslie. Leslie is normally busy being the Vice President of Transformit but these days she and a number of other Transformit employees have set aside their 'normal' tasks to help our neighbors at Flowfold make face shields for the essential health care workers who are on the front lines of this fight against COVID-19.|
Look through a microscope at a slide of cells and behold the tiny, almost innumerable micro-organisms bumping around together in a soup of life. Now imagine yourself in the midst of those cells, in that world under the microscope, shrunk down to cellular size, walking around in a seemingly infinite landscape of cellular structures. This is the experience you can have in the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History’s new exhibit, Under the Microscope.
At the 2019 Industrial Fabrics Association International Expo, the IFAI announced the winners of their annual International Achievement Awards. Five projects that Transformit designed, fabricated, and/or contributed to were recipients of an IAA. Each of these installations represent a collaboration of art and design with multiple partners.
Special thanks and congratulations to our co-winners and collaborators: Conservation International, Cool Shadow (of Loisos + Ubbelohde), Maine Craft Gallery, Quiring General, Scattergood Design, SmithGroup, Thinc Design, Vision3, and Studio HHH, who's original sculpture 'Serpentine', created for Illuminus Boston and featuring eight Transformit 'Pixies', won Best in Category for Fabric Environments as well as receiving top honors with an Award of Excellence in the Fabric Art sub-category.
2019 Industrial Fabrics Association International / International Achievement Awards
Best in Category — Fabric Environments
Award of Excellence — Fabric Environments / Fabric Art
Our newest installation, a jellyfish. Designed by Matt Tarpley and team at Thinc Design of New York, the jellyfish is a purpose-built environment for Drop in the Ocean, a VR experience that made its world debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and next opens at the California Academy of Sciences.
We designed our ready-made collections of stretch-fabric elements to help designers bring shape into their event or built environment. Sometimes that project entails defining space within a larger room or shaping the size of a room to fit form to function.
Our collections of Ready-made fabric designs feature elements from eight to thirty feet tall that are ideally suited to defining space, building moveable walls, or creating smaller “rooms” within a larger space. When paired with lighting, these artistic fabric elements that physically shape the room, can also shape the visual environment with color and form. They also add some acoustic absorption to a room, often a welcome addition when there’s a gathering of people in a large hall.
One of our favorite venues locally for creating rooms within a room is a 26,000 square-foot, former locomotive repair facility that was renovated and reopened as an event hall in 2017, Brick South at Thompson’s Point. We first worked in Brick South when Sea Glass Events brought us in to create a room layout for WEX, one of their corporate clients. WEX wanted a fresh and creative environment for an off-site company meeting, and loved the industrial space of Brick South, but they also needed ten conference rooms, a 250-seat theater, a dining room, and a social space.
When designing the Hutchinson Shores Resort and Spa in Jensen Beach, Florida, the architects and designers at TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design drew inspiration from the resort’s seaside location. For the resort’s ballroom, rather than opting to fill the ceiling with traditional chandeliers, they designed a series of unique sculptural luminaries that evoked billowing sails filled with ocean light and breezes.
In the years since the Patten Free Library in Bath, Maine was last renovated, which was in 1998, the Library’s staff recognized that the addition of dedicated spaces for teens would provide a tremendous benefit to the community. To provide this space, the Library collaborated with Scattergood Design of Portland, architects of the 1998 expansion and renovation, to create a distinctive Teen Area within the existing building. Recently completed, the centerpiece of the Library’s new Teen Area is a two-story “pilot-house” study carrel with floor-to-ceiling interior windows, a range of seating, study and maker spaces, and a view from a birds-nest perch of the Kennebec River, home of the historic shipyard downriver at Bath Ironworks.
Suspended overhead in the carrel is an array of 5’ x 8’ Transformit Sentry FireFlys.