It is said there are two sides to every story. In this particular case, it's more like six.
The University of Iowa has an all-new Iowa State Fair booth and it was designed and built in-house. The party responsible for overhauling the booth is the undergraduate and graduate students in the 3D design program that has been accumulating accolades from Chicago, Illinois, to Milan, Italy, to New York City.
“This is an example of all the good things the university can provide, including opportunities to learn leadership and link education to becoming a professional.”
— Monica Correia, 3D design program director
Monica Correia, faculty advisor to the 3D design program, received a call from former VP for Strategic Communication Joe Brennan with the proposal earlier this year. “I was extremely surprised that the university would look at us as a potential designer,” says Correia.
Shortly after the call, Correia began meeting with students to develop the design concept for the booth. Meetings happened around busy academic schedules and preparations for international design competitions.
Chuck Romans, who recently earned his M.F.A. in 3D design, says, “We had to come up with a shape that would communicate innovation, research, creativity, and technology. And that shape came from a structure that is found in DNA, the hexagon. It’s going to be the basis of the shape for each object and item within the booth.”
Except for some chairs and waste bins, the entirety of the booth was designed and built by the students at university facilities. Correia points out that the pedestals for prepping temporary tattoos for visitors to the booth were specially designed with trays fabricated in a UI thermoforming machine, and fitted with a special sponge to streamline the tattoo application process.
Vako Darjania, a graduate student in 3D design, says that outside of parameters involving things such as budgets and deadlines, he didn’t feel limited in what was possible. “We have quite a wide range of capabilities and technologies, so we don’t feel limited," he says. "That’s one of the great things about being in this program. We have access to a lot of great technologies.”
The construction of the booth was a more-than-full-time job for eight students for two months. “We began construction in May; by Aug. 1, it is hard to believe this is all accomplished,” says Correia.
“It’s just crazy. We’re working 12-hour days, 7 days a week. It’s so much work but it's fun. It’s exhausting but I think it’s going to be really rewarding,” said 3D design student Sarah Gutowski two weeks before the fair.
Correia feels that the opportunity to design a 100 x 20 foot booth and build it in-house is an opportunity unique to students at the University of Iowa. “This is an example of all the good things the university can provide, including opportunities to learn leadership and link education to becoming a professional.”