Agio's floating display was made using Gatorplast from 3A Composites

Agio Creates Floating Large-Format Display

*Click image below to enlarge

Portage, Michigan-based Agio Imaging, a grand format printer and maker of interior signage and décor, chose 3A Composites’ Gatorplast graphic display board as the key ingredient in a challenging project it undertook at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, earlier this year.

In anticipation of a Mother’s Day event being held at the university’s Hesburgh Reflecting Pool on April 29, the Notre Dame Alumni Association approached Agio about creating a special graphic display that would serve as a centerpiece of the event.

Mothers Day is a big deal at Notre Dame because of the university’s ties to its founding. University alum Frank Hering had lobbied for a nationwide holiday to honor mothers beginning in 1904, after reportedly being moved by a classroom assignment requiring students to write penny cards to their mothers. Affectionately known as “the father of Mother’s Day,” Hering is among several advocates – including Anna Jarvis (“the mother of Mother’s Day”) – who lobbied over several decades for the holiday, which was signed into effect by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.

In recognition of Mothers Day and the university’s historical link to the creation of the day, the alumni association asked Agio to created a massive, interlocking “ND” logo within a giant heart that would appear to be free-floating in the 72’ x 136’ reflecting pool. Students and other event attendees would be invited to float 3,000 Gerber daisies in honor of their moms within the heart-shaped display.

It was the first time Agio had been asked to create a large-scale display that floats, according to the company.

To test the substrate’s reflecting-pool readiness, Agio employees float-tested a Gatorplast panel in a tub of water for five days with excellent results. Then Agio’s creative team used Adobe Creative Suite to engineer the heart display – with exterior dimensions of 41-feet by 50-feet. White Gatorplast panels in the 1-inch thickness and 48” x 96” sheet size were digitally direct printed with a Gerber daisy flower pattern, then CNC routed to shape and to a width of 4 inches. The 24 Gatorplast heart display pieces were attached to each other with custom-milled Dibond plates and screws. The Dibond plates were specially engineered by Agio Imaging’s production team.

To create the appearance of a free-floating display, Agio used black sandbags and clear nylon line to anchor the floating shapes in place without being visible in the pool. The custom-milled Dibond plates were attached to the underside of the heart and screwed through Gatorplast’s styrene facer and foam center onsite.

The university’s 29’ x 21’ interlocking “ND” logo also was created from 1-inch thick white Gatorplast in the 48” x 96” sheet size. The logo was digitally direct-printed on Gatorplast then CNC routed to shape. The logo’s 28 pieces were attached with custom-milled Dibond plates and screws installed onsite early the morning of the event. Black sandbags also were attached to the underside of the “ND” logo in a similar fashion to the heart graphic display.

The Gatorplast board was supplied by the Grand Rapids, Mich., branch of distributor Laird Plastics.

The unusual display was a big hit with attendees that day, according to Agio.

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