The Becker Group had a vision of creating the largest Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post diorama exhibit ever assembled featuring silk cattails indigenous to the Northeast US. The 10,000 square-foot exhibition would travel to major cities across the country and would combine theater, educational activities and multimedia experiences in a tribute to one of America’s greatest artists. It would include 20 theatrical environments and 35 three-dimensional, life-size depictions of Rockwell’s most beloved characters, and also feature faux cattail plants and other natural habitat.
The Becker Group selected Commercial Silk Int’l to create “Summer Vacations”, a place where Norman Rockwell would go to escape the city and relax in the summer sun. Commercial Silk Int’l began by researching the best approach to construct the scenery, taking into consideration the following project requirements: durability (minimum 5 years of use required), crating & packing (ease of transport and efficient packing), flexibility (ability to shrink or grow with venue size), and fire retardant silk cattails and plants (to meet fire code requirements).
Commercial Silk Int’l designed and fabricated seventeen ground form plants of varying shapes, heights and lengths. The ground forms were built with a variety of IFR™ (Inherently Fire Retardant) foliage, including 5’ grasses, silk cattails, equisetum horsetail, and other artificial plants. The foliage was permanently attached to the ground forms for efficient installation at each venue.
In addition to the faux cattails and plants, Commercial Silk Int’l fabricated a 10’ Maple tree with a 12’ canopy and removable branches for easy assembly and tear down, and a metal-framed cart with wheels for low hassle transport. Finally, Commercial Silk Int’l fabricated a pond, a split rail fence, and a fallen artificial log hollowed out for children to crawl through. The exhibition opened at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and an estimated two million people will visit the exhibition during its five-year tour.