FRACTAL PLANET – 2013 BLACK ROCK CITY

Yet another year of the Burning Man festival is complete and what a grand year it was.  After 14 years of attending and participating in this landmark event it still never ceases to engage my creative spark to the fullest level.   So much energy and efforts from oh so many people came together to create this beast of a camp called Fractal Planet for the 2013 go round of Fractal Nation.

(Here is a link the video where I grabbed this image.  Scan 2 mins and check out Fractal from droves view.)

After participating with Fractal for the last 2 years of the burn it was truly a blessing to be given the opportunity to initially conceive this colossal shade structure called the Seed Pod.   With guidance from some serious players it was time to get to work.   The scale of the project was daunting, create a dance floor for 4 to 5 thousand people.   I decided to look at what has worked for myself and other time and time again and base the structure off the seed of life geometry.  It was time to go to work sorting this out at the drawing board (Sketch Up).

This was generally familiar territory for me except for one very large difference, we would be making the fabric elements from commercial flame safe shade cloth instead of stretch fabric .  As well I had never worked on something of this scale in the desert wind conditions before.  Shade cloth is very a different material to work with  for shade than than the more commonly used Lycra stretch fabric.  Shade cloth does not stretch much at all making it a very rigid fabric to work with(aka unforgiving).  I chose to switch to the rigid shade cloth for many reasons.  Mainly because it has a stop point to where the fabric pulls to as opposed to stretch fabric that just keeps stretching.  This stop point in the rigid material allows for the fabric in the panels to be very stiff and not billow under wind load.   This allows the creation of large panels at the burn feasible where high wind loads will most certainly be pressing on the systems.  Another great quality of shade cloth is it’s UV safe and does not break down in the sun.   Lycra (Spandex/Poly) stretch fabric starts relaxing within several days of exposure as the sun goes to work on eating away at the Spandex in the fiber.  Shade cloth has a estimated 10 year life in direct sun (and is puncture resistant) making it a much environmentally safe fabric to consider because of its ability to be used and re-used over and over (Lycra shade systems are often disposed of within 2 or 3 festival uses).  I was so happy Fractal agreed with me on this point and I was given the go ahead (thanks for your trust Fractal).

Once the initial concept of working with shade cloth and sacred G was sorted out it was time to integrate with a true master at his craft Francois Boudson of Boom festival.   This guy is the cream of the crop in way of artistic and functional festival rigging.  From here out the design and build of the Seed Pod shade system was a collaboration.   Francois took the lead on building, supervising and guiding all the rigging for the structure including the cable super structure and composite bamboo support towers.   I tell ya, this guy is a freakin’ machine and his experiences with very large systems was invaluable in the equation.

Now that we had drawings and approval sorted it was time to get to work on pre-building the fabric panels on my end and composite towers and cable ways on Francois end.   It was time to put the new Space Shaping facility in San Fransisco to the test!  Creating these fabric panels was a big job that required big space and a good thing we had it.   With fabric ordered and precession calculations made the panels where cut and then sewn on industrial machines.

After several weeks of prepping for the event and making adjustments with Francois it was time to head onto playa.   From there we each did out part.  He setup the towers and cable super structure and I followed with all 30 of the massive fabric panels.    After we where setup Francois continued on to orchestrate the epic stage shade (like a said machine).  The sound came in with Team Infinity and put up a whompin F1 system that was amongst the top PA’s on the playa for 2013.

 

Fractal Planet was a huge success and held down a relatively solid dance-floor all week long.    From there the rest is history.

Contact us to to have the Seed Pod setup at your next event.  The panels are currently stored at our facility in SF.  Please serious inquiries only.