CSU has been a client of ours for years, and most recently we’ve done a collection of brand storytelling murals for the walls of their new Michael Smith Natural Resources Building at Warner College.
The new building is beautiful and was designed and built to be an incredible environmentally friendly space. As a matter of fact, the building just won the Best Higher Education/ Research award for the ENR (Engineering News-Record) Mountain States Best Projects of 2019. A big shout out to Rob Novak, 4240 Architecture, Pinkard Construction and all of the team that were involved in this successful project – it was a fantastic crew to work with and it really is a stunningly beautiful project!
These brand storytelling panels are made from laser-etched beetle killed pine harvested from the local mountainscape where the beetles have destroyed large swaths of forest. When the beetles finish their destructive path through the trees they leave behind a mold that stains the wood blue so that the resulting beauty and character of the wood make it great for the kind of large laser-etched panels that we created for them. We have a good sized laser in our shop, but at Supple we concentrate on design and development and try to outsource as much of the production work as possible to vendors local to our clients. We have worked with Rocky Mountain Waterjet and Laser on many projects over the years. They have always been, and continue to be, truly representative of the kind of vendor partner we seek out who will stand with you even when things don’t go quite as planned.
CNC Lasers are highly technical machines and therefore can be finicky machines to work with. With these panels for CSU, we had spent weeks finding just the right wide beetle kill boards, sanding them, jointing them and gluing them up into large flat 3’x7’ blank panels. At the same time, the designer at CSU had been working to create a masterful design, so when everything was ready to be laser etched we were in great shape. Rocky Mountain brought their truck down to Denver from Greeley, CO, a small town near Fort Collins, where CSU is located. They picked up our panels and took them off to do some test cuts, getting the desired effect we were after. Unfortunately, we soon found out that the laser tube was failing and that it was going to take weeks to ship the machine back to the manufacturer and be fixed up. Many vendors might have thrown up their hands and walked away. Fortunately, Rocky Mountain is a true partner and cares about their clients.
The owner Gail Draper and her husband Jim (confirm) own and operate the business got on the phone with us to brainstorm a solution. In our mind there was no way that we could just throw the panels away and just make new ones. Rocky Mountain brought the panels back so that we could have them re-sanded to remove the imperfect engraving while they found another vendor, BoulderWorks, who had the ability to take on the job with the cleaned up panels. When the lasering was finished, Rocky Mountain picked up the panels and completed the final cleanup on them so that we could apply a special fire retardant and add the finishing touches. We couldn’t be more grateful for the standup actions of Rocky Mountain and the rest of our amazing vendor partner network. With our extended community of vendor and client partners, we’re all in this together!