Our diverse body of work would be impossible without celebrating the diversity within our studio. To all of our LGBTQ+ and allied staff, thank you for making us Clickspring.
Our diverse body of work would be impossible without celebrating the diversity within our studio. To all of our LGBTQ+ and allied staff, thank you for making us Clickspring.
The past few months have been a period of adjustment for all of us at Clickspring Design. We are working from home and learning to adapt to video calls instead of face-to-face meetings… and so are our pets!
Our pets convened without us for a happy hour last week to discuss the future of broadcast set design and corporate branded interiors. Check out this screen grab from their Zoom meeting! Most of them were able to get video and audio set up correctly, but others seemed to have a tougher learning curve (looking at you Carlow and Rhona). Only a few were caught napping (Bee, Cheeto, Max, Babs, and River), three were highly overwhelmed (Lulu, Cloudy, and Cutesie), and two were extremely fed up (Beez and Toboe).
Overall, we are so impressed by how quickly they’ve picked up a new tool.
We created a brand-new design revamp for Al Arabiya’s on-air spaces. This redesign includes cutting edge technology utilizing LED panels and robotic cameras to propel the network into the future of broadcast.
This new Al Arabiya design reinvents traditional studio methodologies by distributing multiple broadcast zones throughout an active newsroom environment. Decentralization allows numerous camera positions focused both toward the interior and especially toward the exterior of the space – multiplying the options for a diverse on-air presence while creating a unique sense of place.
We created specific spaces for each kind of broadcast to thrive: news coverage with LED arrays to support longer and more in-depth reporting, social media coverage with tall narrow displays mimicking that of a smart phone, and reporting analytics shown by multiple graphics in a dynamic dashboard format.
Check out this article for an in depth look at our work with Al Arabiya.
As our last Clicktrip of the year, we traveled across the island of Manhattan to CNN’s Headquarters in Hudson Yards.
Here, we finally got to see our studios up close and personal!
At Hudson Yards, we designed four studios used for seven shows that are currently airing on CNN. These studios took around a year and a half from start to finish.
We toured each studio to see how changing graphics, reorienting desks, and resetting lights can be modified to fit each specific show.
We also had some time to goof around on set.
We tried our chops as very serious journalists (while appreciating the impeccably designed lighting and sets, of course).
We found the best camera angles… Watch out Anderson Cooper!
These CNN projects are very close to our hearts because every single person on the Clickspring team had a hand in the process.
Thanks to CNN for letting us explore our creations in real life!
“On Air” is an internally produced series of staff interviews that showcase the talent and personalities of the people who keep Clickspring ticking. Our fourth installment features two conversations with our summer 2019 interns: Gabby Li in the New York office, as well as Anna Henry and Jacob T. Middleton in the Austin office. Check out our conversations about their studies, interests, and extremely relevant theoretical exercises involving ducks.
First up we have a conversation with Gabby Li in the New York office, who studies Environmental & Interior Design student at Syracuse University:
CSD: Okay, so let’s jump in! You have a unique background! What made you think about Clickspring?
GL: I was attracted to CSD’s unique assembly of talented people; I love the idea of people from different backgrounds contributing to a project together and learning from each other. I am also very interested in finding out how my skill set may contribute to broadcast set design, as it is something completely different from what I have been introduced to.
CSD: And you just studied abroad in London and you’re from Beijing. We’re very glad you get our love for collaboration. Now onto the important stuff. Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or a hundred duck sized horses?
GL: Horse-sized duck. The smaller horses will be too cute to fight. The giant duck will just be like an ostrich, and I’ve always wanted to conquer one, it will make a cool ride if I succeed in taming it.
CSD: Can you elaborate on this?
GL: Because it can run pretty fast, it can keep me warm and comfortable, it can live off of veggies, it can scare off predators with an impressive wing span, and most importantly, it will be my non-rubber duck floaty, and take me off a deserted island when I’d like to leave.
CSD: Touché. What were you most excited about when you started your internship?
GL: I was really excited to learn Cinema 4D and Clickspring’s approach for set design including consideration for cameras, lighting, and functionality.
CSD: Light, Cameras, Functionality! I think we may have just found our new tag line.
Next, we have a chat in our Austin office with Jacob T. Middleton and Anna Henry, who are in the undergraduate architecture and interior design programs at The University of Texas at Austin.
CSD: Longhorns, assemble!
AH + JM: … hi.
CSD: So. Let’s get the flattery out of the way…why an interest in Clickspring?
AH: I was attracted to the unique scope and range of people and projects that make up Clickspring, and I have always been attracted the idea of creating an experience for people. The use of technology and lighting in Clickspring’s projects also really caught my eye.
JM: I have a background in theatrical design that led me to architecture, and Clickspring seemed like a place where I could combine these two passions.
CSD: Do you have any favorite architects?
AH: I am very interested in Petra Blaisse. She has been able to intersect fashion, art, interior design/architecture, and landscape design, connecting the outside an inside and exploring textiles, light, and finishes. These are all things that I take interest in and I would love to be able to mix my passions with my career.
JM: John Hejduk. His architecture transformed recognizable and mundane geometries into forms that were alien and avant-garde. His portfolio of work looks like a postmodern hellscape and that’s kind of iconic. Also, he was a Texas Ranger, which is badass.
CSD: Badass, indeed. Who’s your favorite fictional character?
AH: Ariel from the little mermaid, because she’s a mermaid, and mermaids are cool.
JM: Lightning McQueen from the movie Cars because he knows how to drive.
CSD: You don’t know how to drive?
JM: No, I ride the bus to work for fun.
CSD: Okay! Last question! What did you enjoy learning about most during your summer here?
JM: I loved learning how an architectural skill set can be utilized to perform tasks outside of traditional “architecture.”
AH: I’m glad I improved my drafting skills and how adesign is assembled and comes to life through that process. I’ve also enjoyed learning how Clickspring approaches design challenges that come with broadcast design in general.
“On Air” is an internally produced series of staff interviews that showcase the talent and personalities of the people who keep Clickspring ticking. Our third installment features a conversation between design director Christine de Witte and senior design director Curtis Schmitt.
The following banter took place via chat log within our New York office.
Curtis Schmitt: We recently discovered we have some things in common.
Christine de Witte: That’s true: love of (1) cats, (2) bikes, (3) rectilinear geometry, (4) organization; and (5) lack of a middle name.
CS: That about sums it up. Was it common where you were born for babies to not be given middle names?
CdW: Yeah, I think in the Netherlands, or anywhere in Europe, in the 1980s it was much more common not to be given a middle name than it would’ve been in the States, for example.
CS: What do you do for government and web forms that request a middle name or initial?
CdW: I just leave it blank. But a friend in college made up a middle name for me. I think it was Gertrude or something hilarious like that. What do you do with middle initial boxes?
CS: My situation is a little more complicated because I have two first names joined by a hyphen: Curtis-Ray. I generally try to get away with “Curtis R” but the last time I was at the DMV a very sassy woman wrote out my first name as “CURTISRAY” and then assigned me the middle initial “N”.
CdW: Those DMV employees just make up rules. You don’t need an “N”! My license (luckily) doesn’t have one.
CS: Yeah, she told me if I didn’t like it I’d have to legally change my name to remove the hyphen. But if I’m going to the trouble of legally changing my name, I’m doing a whole lot more than just removing a hyphen. So, bikes: how did you get into doing longer rides and eventually into racing?
CdW: I think being Dutch necessitates that you ride a bicycle, so beyond learning the basic skillset at a young age, I was inspired by my parents’ stories of completing the Fietselfstedentocht: a 230-km ride through the eleven original cities of our home province of Friesland. (I was finally able to cross it off the list last year.) But the interest in longer rides built after grad school; the month before I moved to NYC, my best friend and I road-tripped from Austin to Marfa, TX, for the inaugural “Marfa 100” (km).
It took me a bit to understand the possibilities of cycling in NYC, but I found a group of friends and started riding a few centuries or gran fondos per year, and eventually wanted a taste of racing. Once I jumped in, the community of fast and fun people had me instantly hooked! My year-end stats rounded out to 6,200+ miles in 2018.
CS: That works out to 17+ miles per day — that is very impressive!
CdW: Thanks! It’s double what I was doing before racing, but I also know people who hit twice that number. So what’s your current bike count? And plans for the inevitable n+1?
CS: I have three custom bikes, all made here in the U.S., plus the folding bike (not made in the U.S.) you’ve seen me commute in on. Plus one motorcycle. I think my next bicycle could have an electric motor in it.
CdW: So winter’s here and it’s dark at 4pm now. What’s your approach to staying sane until April?
CS: I’m usually pretty depressed by March, honestly, and fantasizing about moving to someplace much warmer. We might adopt a greyhound next month, so that would keep us pretty distracted from the misery of the winter.
CdW: I know you guys have cats… do you test to see if the potential hound will get along with them?
CS: Yeah, so the adoption agencies will cat-test each dog. Precautions must be followed regardless of how cat-compatible the dog is. I want a really sinister looking Nine Inch Nails-style metal muzzle for the dog so that when I’m walking him people will feel intimidated (in reality they’re the farthest thing from a guard dog).
CdW: Haha, and since they’re so thin, you’ll have to get a matching sweater and boots, too.
CS: My wife is very excited about making all sorts of custom clothing and booties for the greyhound.
CdW: She can expand her shoe line!
CS: She would love that. Alright, we’ve covered most of the things we have in common that we love. One we haven’t yet is: rectilinear geometry. Christine, why do you hate curves so much?
CdW: Haha, well… that’s a difficult one to pin down. I really enjoy working within systems with well-defined rules or parameters, which rectilinear geometries just readily fall into. Many curved forms are mathematically defined as well, so my argument doesn’t necessarily exclude them. But with things like b-splines and, shall we say, “organic” forms I feel like there’s such a propensity to draw whatever you want… there’s no system guiding your decisions.
CS: Right. There’s no rigorous logic in the “free” forms. So would it be fair to say that Frank Gehry is not your favorite architect?
CdW: So fair. And it’s well-known that I’m no fan of Zaha, either.
CS: Who is your favorite architect?
CdW: I have to say that with the variety architecture blogs providing glimpses of inspirational work by architects or small firms I’m not necessarily even aware of, I don’t think I can pinpoint a real “favorite” … but I do consistently love the thoughtful nature of Tod Williams Billie Tsien projects.
CS: Not seeing any curves in their portfolio.
CdW: There might be a few, but yes, very restricted. How about you?
CS: Peter Zumthor.
CdW: Have you visited any Zumthor works in person?
CS: Yes, this past summer, Becca and I visited Kunsthaus Bergenz. It was easily one of the best moments of my life. The guy designed it in the 80s, it’s just mind-boggling. I came across photos and drawings of this building in 2003 in school when my mentor suggested I look him up. So I’d built it up over the last fifteen years in my mind as this perfect specimen of architecture that nothing else measures up to, and it still exceeded my expectations.
CdW: Wow, that’s really saying a lot.
CS: I didn’t want to leave, Becca had to drag me out of there. Bregenz is also a sweet little city too, in what is one of my favorite countries. I’d move there tomorrow. I don’t feel that way about many places.
CdW: You’d leave NYC?!
CS: I would! Are there any places you’d leave NYC for?
CdW: Well, I just reached my 8-yr NYC-versary and am not leaving anytime soon, but yeah, I’d consider it at some point. Haven’t found the spot yet, though. I really loved the beauty of northern CA when I visited, and Seattle as well, but the west coast isn’t pulling me in a more permanent way just yet.
CS: How did you find your way to Clickspring Design?
CdW: I graduated at the end of 2008, when architecture jobs were pretty hard to find, so I went home to work for my dad while continuing the search. I had stayed in contact with a professor who is friends with Steve Dvorak and heard he might be looking for some drafting help. Steve’s phone call literally came while I was driving a tractor, loading round bales onto a trailer. I drove back to Austin that weekend and have been kept busy ever since!
CS: That’s amazing!
CdW: Your story isn’t quite the traditional route, either, right? How did you end up in this line of work?
CS: It’s not, and it’s too long for this format. For anyone truly interested, I refer them to my bio. OK, if you weren’t doing this, what do you think you’d be doing for a living?
CdW: Probably running a waffle shop with my youngest sister. It’s that thing we bring up when we’re exhausted for one reason or another and say “let’s quit our jobs and open a waffle shop.”
CS: I love waffles.
CdW: Yes, waffles are so delicious and versatile. We’d have a pretty varied offering and business would surely boom.
CS: I want waffles now. OK, this Saturday I am having waffles. If you want waffles in NYC, where do you go?
CdW: Veselka makes a good waffle! And I’m not just saying that because I race for them. OK, but srsly now it’s 3pm and I forgot to get lunch. Gotta step out.
With help from the team at Clickspring Design, 733 Collective was able to expand its community reach and create a one-of-a-kind immersive event for Halloween.
Dubbed the “Twisted Toy Factory,” the event raised $5,000 for City Harvest, a charity which provides food for those in need in the community through food recycling while providing a unique place for kids and adults experience Halloween in a new way.
“New York City has always provided for 733 Collective. Not only is it our home, but for all our events we scour the city in search of discarded, forgotten, or otherwise unwanted artifacts. This search for, and repurpose of, perfectly sound discarded items has inspired us to team up with this year’s charity partner,” said Kendra James of 733 Collective and Clickspring Design. “As we travel the city in search of discarded material for our art, City Harvest travels the city with a higher purpose to help feed 1.2 million struggling New Yorkers.”
This expanded purpose would not have been possible without the help of Clickspring Design, which provided not only financial assistance but also volunteered to help bring the event together.
“As native New Yorkers, we see the struggle of those in need around us. We were honored to help sponsor an event that not only supported them but also tied into our core experience in entertainment and events,” said Erik Ulfers, Founder and President of Clickspring Design.
Focused on all things Halloween, the 733 Collective emerged from a series of ‘underground’ Halloween parties that grew more spectacular and surreal with the passing of each year. With members involved in the design and entertainment community, the Collective knew Clickspring Design would be a great fit to create the biggest event yet.
“Each year we talk about how we would love to share our Halloween spirit with a larger community, especially the kids. Through Clickspring we were empowered to expand our reach this year,” said James.
“Not only did the event bring local families together, but it also presented an opportunity to bring the Clickspring family together,” added James. “The Collective was thrilled when the Clickspring staff volunteered their time and energy gathering items for the raffle, reaching out for recyclable toys, working the concession stand and running the games for the kids… all in costume, too!”
The donation to City Harvest (made possible by Clickspring’s sponsorship and ticket sales) will feed 350 New York families for a month.