Here’s a deep dark secret we’d like to illuminate for you: Dillon Works make light fixtures! Yes, yes…we know…SHOCKER! While most people know us for our amazing immersive environments, or our iconic giant sculptural projects, making custom, high-end light fixtures has been kept in the…ahem…dark, for many years. So we’re highlighting this one facet of our diverse capability for you.
Who knew that we made dozens of giant planet light fixtures for a theme park in Hong Kong? Or 12-foot tall pendants for a casino in Pennsylvania? Gigantic drum light fixtures for a casino in Arizona? Or sculptural chandeliers for a national department store? Heck, we’ve even created a piece of art in a hotel lobby that’s part sculpture, part mural, and part lighting magic!
We’re here to enlighten you.
While anyone who works in an office can attest to the popularity of workplace treats, whether it be leftover holiday goodies or birthday cake, it has been suggested that the Dillon Works’ food culture takes this sentiment to another level.
For example, today’s over-indulgence was our annual “Fat Tuesday” breakfast, hosted by our resident empty-nester/production accountant, Marie Nowlin. On the menu – biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, scrambled cheesy eggs and hash browns. Also included were a fresh fruit salad and oatmeal for the health conscious, none of whom showed up today based on the fact that the oatmeal went untouched.
Even more notable than the food is the homey atmosphere created when all employees, production workers, admins, project managers, directors and the president sit down and “break bread” together.
Apart from Fat Tuesday, we also do fish fries, holiday pot lucks, birthdays and any other notable occasions that arise during the course of the year. And if there are no special occasions, we’ll do it just for the heck of it !
2012 was a great year for Dillon Works! and we’re looking forward to an even better 2013 with the addition of two really talented guys to our Design Team – Hector Caiazza and Jon Garcia, both of whom are recent transplants to the Pacific Northwest.
Jon joins us as Technical Director, from Contour Entertainment in Los Angeles where he was responsible for the technical design for some amazing projects. His ability to come up with great solutions for lighting, A/V, and mechanical special effects enables DW to reach an entirely new level of design and custom fabrication. Jon and his wife Lena have a three year old son and a daughter on the way. We wish all the best for Jon and his growing family in their new home.
Hector joins us (finally!) as our Creative Director, from St. Louis, where he worked for many years with PGAV, Busch Entertainment, a number of ad agencies, as well as his own design and fabrication company. Hector is one of those really unique creative types that can sketch something cool on a napkin, yet while he’s drawing, has a good idea of the materials that might be used and the potential methods to build it. We’re happy to welcome Hector, his family, their pet snake, and their pet naked mole rat.
No, this isn’t Ina Garten sharing her techniques to create incredible elegant meals. Nor is it Alton Brown searching to unlock the science behind a perfectly seared steak. It’s Sue Sarchin, our Paint Shop Supervisor, and her amazing paint recipes!
Almost everything we build gets painted, even if it’s just a clear coat. But often, the finish is more complicated, requiring different ways to prepare a surface; unique primers that allow the finish to bond properly; layers of pigmented paint giving it that perfect look; clear coats to inhibit UV; the list goes on…
So on every job, for as long as she’s been here (14 years!), Sue makes a “Recipe Card” for every finish she and her amazing staff produce. This card includes the job name, date, and substrate being painted. It also includes how the material is cleaned, and prepared to receive the finish. She also includes a written description of the application steps, the exact product used, and a literal sample of the primer, basecoat, colors, glazes, and clear coats. This information is then saved in our archives for future use.
So 5 years from now, if something needs to be repainted, and we need to know if was it flat, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss, Sue just opens her cookbook.
Our paint shop has the sizzle…AND THE STEAK!
In our lexicon, even we’re sometimes confused: “I will model it on the computer.”; “Should I build a model?”; “Should we model it?”
So what does “model” mean, as it relates to our work? (Not to be confused with Kate Moss.)
First, we need to go back in history: Back in the “good ole’ days”, when we worked with a client unable to visualize something in 3D, we would “make a model”. This was a physical model, produced by hand out of whatever materials were appropriate to create the shape of the object. Typically it was at a small scale, but relational to the object being created, and for ease of handling. (ie a model of play areas and theming for the children’s ministries for a 3 story church would be modeled at a dramatically reduced scale, whereas a brachytherapy radioisotope would be modeled at an increased scale.)
But as technology evolved, and became more aligned with the way in which we communicate with our clients, the term “model” shifted. It became less of a noun – a physical object, and more of a verb – something to do: “I’ll model that gigantic Jelly sculpture in Rhino” (Or AutoCAD, 3D Studio MAX, MAYA, CATIA, Sketchup, or Solidworks, to name a few…) And the more powerful and versatile these “modeling” programs become, the more emphasis we put on using them as tools in our toolbox.
The biggest attribute of a digital model, is that it can be shared quickly, and easily with all involved –in essence, just press “Send”. The downside to a digital model (or anything done with computer-like precision), is that some people perceive it’s the finished product. Often times an object will be modeled to define design intent – by no means the final result.
Yet there is still a valid argument for the good old fashioned model made with Foam core and balsa wood, as some clients just want to literally touch, and hug their project.
And to make it even more confusing, a project can include both: We “model” on the computer to generate ideas, and to help aid in discussions to solve problems. But that can also manifest itself into a physical model, either made by hand, or produced by a CNC or rapid-prototyping machine.
The key is to have a clear understanding of the visual capabilities and needs of the client, which will dictate the most effective method of communication and “modeling”.
So if your project needs a hug, we’re the model company for you.