Fusion Theatre

Ford Fusion Theatre

In March’s issue of Lighting and Sound America a Designsmith Production Design was featured for Ford’s “The Fusion Experience.”  A segment from the article: “To create an intimate Ford Fusion Theatre, Bud Price of Studio Creative, turned to longtime production designer Jerrod Smith of Designsmith Collaborative, Inc. based in Hamden Connecticut.  ‘This one was a technical challenge more than anything, juggling  the space that we had, trying to get the right number of people, good sight lines, going over the existing hockey rink and leaving enough room for the rear projectors,’ Smith admits.”

“Balance was critical to making the project work. ‘We could have made the screens much larger,’ says Smith, ‘but we wouldn’t have had as many seats; we could have had more seats, the screens would have been smaller.  We had to find a nice middle point for everything so the environment would be just right.'”

“For the nuts and bolts of the project, Smith turned to Chicago Scenic Studios, of Chicago, and SGA Production Services, of Lansing, Michigan.  ‘SGA handled the riser system for the seating platform.  Chicago Scenic constructed the stage floor, the turntables, the video screen frames, all of the tunnel ways on the concourse, and masking walls,’ he says.”

“Creating a circular theatre-in-the-round in an oval venue was indeed a challenge. ‘There were a lot of things we had to customize to make this design work,’ admits Smith. ‘We pulled a lot of existing seating, we pulled railings on the concourse level, from certain parts of the rink, and added decking over the ice – we also removed the lower six rows of existing bleacher system.’ Fourteen hundred permanent seats were removed to accommodate the Fusion Theater.”

“After their reveal, the four new Ford Fusions sat atop 18 foot diameter turntables. ‘The size of the playing area is based on the turning radius of the Fusion- 37.5 feet, which is actually a nice tight turning radius,’ explains Smith. ‘We added a little breathing room; the centers of the turntables were 40 feet center to center, so it was just enough.'”

“The dominant visual feature of the event was undoubtedly the curved Da-Lite Dual Vision video screens, which encircled the space ‘We had twenty 15.5′ x 27.5′ projection screens; if you add that up, it comes to 550 running feet of video screen,’ notes Smith.”

“To the untrained eye, the 360 degree theatre had curved video screens. ‘The screens themselves were in flat sections, so we created 20 flat screens and faceted those around the room so it felt curved although it was not,’ the production designer explains.”

Read the Article in Lighting and Sound America, March 2012 (PDF)