“All these banners were created in an hourglass shape to fit a 90-degree twist. When the first one went up, that twist caused wrinkling and puckering in the twist. We went back to the engineers, architects, and designers, did some more simulations on the computers and came out with a new template.”
Still another challenge lay ahead. During the installation of the mock-up banners, Rainier found it hadn’t taken into account an expansion joint in creating the brackets. So the brackets had to be reworked to accommodate those joints.
An American-based subcontractor, Ft. Worth-based Fabritech, was contracted to handle the installation, while Rainier turned its attention to making sure the banners were produced and shipped in the ever-shorter period of time remaining. “Towards the end, it was a daily point of stress for us,” Rueb recalls. “We spent a lot of time stressing over the banner production, how much we could ship and how much we could turn out in a day.”
As Rainier and its partners overcame each obstacle, the team also absorbed a number of crucial lessons. The primary takeaway was the amount of teamwork and collaboration needed in such an ambitious endeavor, Rueb says.
“The entire supply chain had to work in close collaboration to get this done,” he reports. “And that included Dow Chemical providing the pellets, Cooley Group taking the pellets and manufacturing the printed material, us printing and fabricating the system, and Fabritech doing the install.
“It required a lot of communication, and a lot of 5:00 am phone calls, due to the time differences, because we were working with Dow scientists in both Europe and the US. And we had another party to communicate with, and that was LOCOG. We had a set conference call every Tuesday morning for 16 months, which just ended with the [staging of the] Olympics.”
However, the result justified all the hard work. The wrap transformed what Rueb calls “a boring, cold stadium” and made it far more inviting, offering up a 56-hue “color wheel” that wreathed the circular structure. In addition to making the stadium colorful, the banners bestowed a way-finding benefit. Every sixth banner identified the stadium section and the aisles within that section.
What’s ahead for Rainier? The company is currently working on a wrap for the Central Michigan University football stadium and looking forward to taking on challenges at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014, the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. But for now, there’s a bit of time to sit back and savor the triumph of a golden Olympiad performance.
“It really transformed the stadium,” Rueb says of Rainier‘s work. “To see these things going up and changing the look and feel of the stadium was neat.”