Archive | March, 2011

The “WOW” Factor in Architectural Materials

Photo of various architectural materials

Is there a certain architectural material that you have seen that has the “WOW” Factor? Maybe you walked by it, but had to stop and take another look because it was so strikingly different that it made everything else look dull in comparison to it. I-5 Design and Manufacture has been developing different types of architectural materials and have been utilizing them in our projects that include all types of retail environments: casinos, banks, restaurants, buffets and more – above are some examples of these materials. Feel free to leave a comment and tell us about a material that you have seen that delivers the “WOW” Factor or even post a picture!

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KAIZEN | Continual Improvement | Eastern Culture meets Western Culture in Business Principles

Picture of incremental Product improvement

At our company we believe that “gifts” for business can be found all over the place and are just waiting to be unwrapped and implemented. For example, Bill Gates with Microsoft is a gift in the programs that he creates, Steve Jobs with Apple and the products they provide (iPad, iPhone, apple workstations), and so on. One of the gifts we have found to be very helpful in serving our clients is the production philosophy developed by the Japanese called kaizen. The word kaizen, means continuous, incremental, improvement. Our president discovered this term and method while searching for a vehicle at a Lexus car lot several years ago and was very excited about how it could be applied to our business. Kaizen aims to eliminate waste, activities that add cost but do not add value. Kaizen must operate with three principles in place: 1. process & results (not results only), 2. Systemic thinking (big picture, not solely narrow view), 3. Non-judgmental, non-blaming (blaming is wasteful). When used correctly, kaizen humanizes the work place, eliminates hard work (both mental and physical) while teaching people how to perform experiments using scientific methods, as well as learn to identify and eliminate waste in business processes. I-5 aims to apply kaizen in every area of our business, from office to sales to design to manufacturing to installation. Every employee, from our expert designers to the newest production employee, is encouraged to think of creative, out-of-the-box solutions for every day tasks and problems. Whether this results in the creation of a system that can be followed for a specific task, finding a new technology or resource that will aid us in the future, assembling a brainstorming session with the whole team, or even a meeting about the failures of a particular process and what needs to be improved by specific employees, each of these add to the progress of the company. In fact, every employee is expected to stop their part of a process in any case of abnormality and (along with their supervisor) suggest an improvement to resolve it. All of these methods contribute to the slow, but constant, incremental process that is Kaizen, which results in a better work environment for everyone involved, total quality control and best of all, a better end product for our clients.

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Worldwide Custom Décor Shipments

At I-5 Design and Manufacture, we work closely with our clients to guarantee that the end result of each project is even better than they could imagine. Once the manufacturing portion of the job is complete, our expert installation crew carefully loads all of the décor in a secure and compact way to ship across the country, around the world or wherever the destination point is. Below are a few photos of custom décor, partially loaded for a shipment going to Wisconsin.

Photo of decor shipment

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I-5 Finish Department | Incremental Improvement Produces Beautiful Finishes

Photo of Josiah's Restaurant in the Seminole Casino - High Quality Finish

In-shop photo of the sign for Josiah's Restaurant in the Seminole Casino

The Finishing Department here at I-5 Design is constantly finding ways to improve the quality and effect of our product finishes. Everything from prep process to the final clear coat finish is being refined and improved to ensure the highest quality product with the shortest turnaround time for our customers. For example the “I-5 PrismaticGold” finish, is the culmination of multiple discussions, research, and testing. Our goal was to create a polyurethane finish to mirror the “gold leaf” process while reducing the time this process takes to accomplish. Our first attempts were nice metallic finishes, but not good enough for our quality standards. Subsequent attempts refined our process to bring out the all-important shimmering golden glow. I’m proud of the finished product and excited to continue developing processes that result in long lasting, beautiful finishes. We used the I-5 PrismaticGold, to great effect, at Josiah’s Bar and Grill inside Seminole Casino in Florida.

Todd R
Lead Tech
I-5 Design Finish Department

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Digital Technology = Worldwide Design Solutions

We are constantly looking for new technologies and systems for streamlining design processes and improving manufacturing efficiency and quality. Recently we have implemented new video conferencing technology in conjunction with mobile video sources, like the Apple iPad 2, which makes it possible to involve our entire team from the beginning of a project. Our design team is now able to join our on-site technicians for virtual site walk-throughs and surveys to ensure accurate field dimensions and solutions, which ultimately create the exactly right look for the customer within their location. One of the many benefits of this technology is that our team can be at multiple locations worldwide in the same day, creating design solutions that result in the perfect atmosphere for each venue. Below are a few pictures from a recent video conference with a tech on-site, thousands of miles away.

Picture of Lead Designer Dave Waters on Video Conference

Lead designer on remote site visit

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Architectural lighting design using color changing LED

Recently we had a client who wanted to see examples of color-changing lighting applications for their location. After researching the best options for color-changing lighting technology and a brainstorming session with our team, we decided the most effective method for presenting the ideas would be to create a computer generated architectural lighting animation. We created two options for the client, the first is a wall washing color changing LED application which uses large light fixtures installed at the base of the building that shoot up a powerful beam of light over the entire building to create drama and accentuate the beauty of the architecture. The second option shows an intelligent lighting system that features individual light bands which combine to make one programmable surface (similar to what we did for Oaklawn Racing & Gaming’s entry structure).

These are only a few of the many options which are available for exterior architectural lighting and which creates a dramatic, eye-catching light show on a building. From subtle to spectacular, lighting can transform spaces and environments through innovative uses of LED systems and technologies. These are also low power consumption, green solutions. The retail goal is to enhance the beauty of the building’s architecture while creating interest to passers-by. I am a part of the design team at I-5 Design & Manufacture and am proud of the projects we create that inspire our clients about the possibilities for their facilities using LED architectural lighting technology.

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Photos of the Week | Paint Department | High Quality Finishes

The Photos of the Week post series will feature candid in shop pictures that show our people creating the custom decor elements we design and manufacture. Every project we work on begins with a work order that illustrates how the decor will be constructed in shop, as well as finish specifications for each component of the overall element. In the photos below, one of our paint technicians is applying a high quality finish to decor components that will come together within an overall decor plan.

Photo of Paint Technician applying glossy finish to decor

Paint Technician applying glossy finish to decor


Picture of Paint Technician applying second coat to decor

Photo of Paint Technician applying finish coat to decor elements

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question below!

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UW Medicine | Signage branding update | Project implementation

We’ve been working with the University of Washington Medical Centers in and around Seattle, WA, to create a new branding identity for their locations. This signage was designed to be easily adaptable for various applications throughout the healthcare center. Similar to our other rebranding cases, this project started with our design team working to create a look that reflected the quality health care that UW Medicine provides and draw attention to their facilities in the best way possible. After the design had been reviewed and approved by the client, it was transferred to our production crew, and they bring this visual concept into physical reality. Prior to leaving our facility, the team walks through each installation in shop to ensure that the on-site installation is as efficient and seamless as possible. Once onsite, our install crews work together as a team to create an installation performance that the matches the final project in quality and efficiency. Video feeds of our installations can be viewed remotely by project supervisors so the best on-site solutions are created should the need arise. I’m proud of the way our work for UW Medicine has come together, from the beautiful design through the smooth implementation.

Have you seen any other examples of effective rebranding/brand updates? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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