When Modular Construction is the Only Way to Assure Program Success

By Jeff Baker, posted on June 18, 2018

The mandate: to conceive, design, and manufacture the retail shop for a renowned cultural exhibition traveling to four countries (from the US, to France, Britain, and Australia), with the requirement to fully install within six days in spaces we know only by architectural plans and photographs. This is the true essence of “experiential retail” and the type of challenge the Image 4 team lives for. (See more images)


Traveling with Tut

For the past six months, we have been blessed to work on a very rich retail project — the gift shop for the world-traveling “King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” exhibition, timed to the upcoming 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tut’s tomb. Our challenge was to deliver the same, high impact visitor experience that our client has envisioned, while also controlling for design and multi-country, international deployment. To define, manage, and control for all variables our answer is modular construction (and designing in metric — after all, the US is the only country where we can’t divide by 10!)


Our Modular Solution In Action


  • Built to Adapt– The 4,000 square foot (1,890 square meter) King Tut retail shop is built of 1 meter wide x 2.5 meter high aluminum extrusion panels. These panels lock together and can be reconfigured to accommodate nearly any shape. All of the lighting is modular as well. Each fixtures is a 24-volt LED fed by transformers. As we move the store from the US to France, Britain, and later Australia, all we need to do is swap power cords on the transformers.
  • Built to Brand – Within the perimeter, the lateral support structures are built the same way, and can be located wherever the wall needs perpendicular rigidity. These support structures are designed to blend in with and complement the store design, complete with graphics and merchandising. All display components can be locked together to form long runs of display racking, or to guide traffic seamlessly within the store.


Benefits of Modular Construction for Traveling Exhibits

A modular approach allows us to quickly ‘translate’ the King Tut retail shop into new and foreign spaces, saving critical time and money. Here are just a few of the benefits of our modular approach:


  • Controlled for Efficiency – Shop fabrication is far more efficient than on-site building: our automated machines save time and result in less wasted material and manpower. And, if an appropriate schedule is arranged, there’s no overtime, late nights on site, or tripping over other tradespeople.
  • Controlled for Quality –  As good as our craftspeople are, there’s no way to hold three decimals in an on-site cut of material. In the shop, we program the cut on our fabricating machines, so it’s perfect every time. We also set up the entire store in our shop for final fit and finishing so there are zero on-site surprises.
  • Controlled for Timing – With a modular build we know exactly how long it takes to install the project. When you’ve got 21 days to install a 150,000 square foot exhibition like the King Tut, knowing the retail shop will only take 6 days maximum helps our client prioritize schedules, apply resources appropriately, and be comfortable in the success of at least this small part of a very large program.


The in-shop modular approach isn’t right for all projects — a historical building or multi-level construction has much different needs — but many exhibit, retail and in-store projects can benefit from this design-thinking, integrated-project approach.

Read the full project brief here.

Experience easier, faster, and more beautiful projects with modular design and fabrication. Because, as you know by now, It’s About the Experience®

Category: ,