Studio Robazzo
Innovation by Design

Journal

Impactful Installations at TEDxVictoria5

Photo by Kelsey Goodwin at KGood Photo

Photo by Kelsey Goodwin at KGood Photo

TEDx is a brand known the world over for leading edge talks and performances that inspire, educate and spread great ideas. So when the organizers of TEDxVictoria, our local TED satellite event, approached us for a full design partnership we were excited and motivated to create something cohesive and captivating. Taking on a major design partnership like this was an extremely valuable experience for us a studio. We were able to sculpt the entire aesthetic feel of TEDx, giving us a wide range of experience in print design, wayfinding, and large-scale installation work.

The foundation of the project was a strong branding package to build from. The theme for TEDxVictoria this year was "Impact." Drawing on design principles such as minimal impact for the environment and  maximum impact within the community, we decided to merge the iconic lightbulb symbol with an iceberg, creating the icy appearance using a tessellated texture. The "lightberg" carried through our design, from business cards to t-shirts to the stage build. 

In an effort to reduce the impact of print materials, we used recycled paper and card stock, and minimized single-use flyers in favour of a higher quality comprehensive booklet. The booklet contained speaker and event details, an engaging social media bingo game, maps and other information about the event. Note pages add nostalgic value to the book, with hopes that the guest will keep the book as a memento rather than discarding it like many other event print materials. For signage and wayfinding we used laser etched plywood signs that are able to be broken down, rather than traditional foamcore. Foamcore, a commonly used material for printing single use-signage for events, is made from polystyrene. This polymer is one of the most widely used plastics with production at seven billion kg per year, and with a non-biodegradable lifespan lasting hundreds of years.

Our massive stage installation was created from reclaimed cardboard from our neighbourhood. Using our laser cutter we were able to cut over 100 pieces for the ice berg lightbulb, AKA the "lightberg". Assembling the unique triangle shapes in to the massive form we designed was a tough job, requiring many hands, lots of hot glue, and more binder clips than any of us had ever seen. Once fully assembled, however, the majority of the structure was self-supporting due to its tesselated design. We added 2x2s and 2x4s to help the structure retain its form during transport and the show. The final component was the LED-lit X, creating the filament for our lightberg. Calling in reinforcements from our friends, we were able to wire up the LEDs to the X frame that we built. Seeing everything come together in the final moments of dress rehearsals was relieving, satisfying, and exhausting. None of it could have been possible without the many hours our friends contributed voluntarily to the project.

Photos by KGood Photo

In addition the designing and building for the event itself, we also contributed to the Active Space; an area dedicated to creative, interactive and engaging installations guests could discover between speaker sessions. City Hall played host to intriguing light installations, and interactive sound experiments, turning the space in to a true community gathering. Our contribution was a virtual reality recreation of the stage in 3 dimensions, using the Oculus Rift. By wearing the headset, guests were able to experience the view from the stage in 3D, meaning by turning your head you could get new vantage points of the stage installation, audience and surrounding theatre features. Immersing people in a new environment can provoke new ideas, and we hope our installation was able to inspire someone to think about their own TED talk.

The TED initiative is a great example of how communities can come together to learn, connect and share ideas. We are all so proud of what the TEDxVictoria team was able to accomplish this year: an engaging active space, delicious food vendors, exciting speakers and a welcoming atmosphere created a truly memorable, educational event. As an entirely volunteer-run organization, this event could not have been possible without the many official and unofficial volunteers who helped us throughout our work on this project.