Their team wanted to put up a generic backdrop across all three campus that would look great and hold up well over a nine week time span. They had seen a cool room divider idea using rope on pinterest and thought it might be something they could try and implement somehow in their staging.
This is one of those sets that they thought would be pretty straightforward in their minds, but ended up being quite a bit more complicated than they originally planned. They knew they wanted to create one solid rope wall at both Mira Lagos and Mansfield West, and three walls to cover the large span at Green Oaks. They also wanted to align the strings diagonally instead of vertically, then cross the opposite direction with white rope in a random pattern. The two types of rope would reflect light differently and give them a cool, simple design. So they launched off and bought a ton of rope.
By their calculations, they needed six of these 600 ft spools to implement the design plan at all three locations. What they didn’t realize was that this heavy, 3/4 inch jute rope has a very strong smell. They walked into the storage room and were nearly knocked over by the fumes after one day. They tried to air the spools out and crossed their fingers that the smell would pass. In the meantime, they had another problem.
Originally, they were planning on drilling holes into a wood frame. However, once they added up the time to drill each hole needed for every campus, the time to finish just the holes was over eight hours. They didn’t have that kind of time, so they decided to use a metal unistrut frame instead. They hoped that they could weave the rope throughout the pre-cut holes in the unistrut, but the rope ended up being too thick…so they set out to attach 3,600 feet of rope with zip ties. The process was very tedious and the tension from the rope kept bending their frames and lifting them from the ground. It took ten of them an entire day to finish the weaving, not including all of the white counter rope.
The next day they began with the white rope, which went much faster than the day before. They intended for the white to be parallel, straight lines. However, no matter how tight they pulled the rope, it would stretch and sag within a few hours. After multiple tweaks, they decided to embrace the small amount of curve and just make sure each section was parallel.
Though the final stages at each campus still had a little smell to work through, the end product still worked well. They learned once they finished that certain light colors only highlighted the white rope and made the other completely disappear. This gave them a cool variable and dimension to create several different looks (single and multi-layered).