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We are often asked to create some pretty wild things. Suspending model trains from a ceiling? No problem. Creating an entire diorama of an airport...made 100% out of candy? Sure thing. Building 7 foot tall deer head sculptures? Of course.

This recent art project really took the cake. We collaborated with the insanely talented team at Kimberly Timmons Interiors - a powerhouse interior design studio in Denver. They asked us to help with a 3D art mural for their client: River Run resort in Granby, Colorado.

It was very important to the client that their logos, symbols, fonts, and colors were incorporated into this piece, so it'd match both the aesthetic, and the branding of the resort. KTI envisioned an educational map, an art mural, and a branding visual for the property- combined in one. A real Instagram moment!

KTI wanted the piece to be dimensional artwork that would tell a story of the geographical location of the resort. Colorado flora and fauna needed to be included, as well as local towns, rivers, lakes and mountain ranges.

We brainstormed extensively with KTI and just had a ball spitballing idea after idea. Then, Black Hound rolled up our sleeves and started our design concepts.

For our first concept, we pitched the image below. We piggy-backed on all of KTI's awesome ideas, and took it a bit further. In line with the vision of creating a very Instagrammable moment, we wanted people to feel compelled to take their photo in front of the mural. So, we added in the “Greetings From” at the top of the wall to make the piece reminiscent of a retro postcard, and very photo-worthy.

We knew that we wanted to make the map of Grand County via CNC cuts on plywood and sealed with an exterior finish. We proposed using an innovative technique of wood printing for all graphics and text; this creates an extremely durable product. Printing also produces a very crisp graphic that is modern and clean.

However, printing does have limitations in the size of what can be printed on. As such, we knew we'd have to print the map in pieces- which would create seams. We planned on being very strategic about these seams, and having them run along natural topography as much as we could.

To add visual interest, we proposed creating mountain ranges out of steel- and placing them on the map in accurate areas to represent the various ranges. The metal would be finished with exterior clear coating or powder coating to ensure it ages beautifully and stands up to the weather.

For added dimension, we suggested strategic “call outs” to highlight chosen animals or fauna. We thought they could be accompanied by simple facts/trivia. We figured that we'd make each animal via CNC cutting and then mount them on a wood circle backer. This would also create several layers/dimensions: the wood circle plus the wood animals for added pop. We also were intrigued by the idea of using wood cookies with some bark on the outer rims as the backer. This would add organic texture and a cool mountain vibe.

One of our favorite ideas was to add in a feature for kids! We proposed building a narrow bench/platform so that children could stand on it and reach an area of the mural. We wanted to create a simple cross-section view of a river and mountainscape. Each cross-section would have an element that the kids can actually move (along a track that is routed out in the wood). This simple feature would create interactivity and engagement- and perhaps give Mom and Dad a few moments to relax while their kids play.

We were over the moon when KTI accepted our proposal, and gave awesome feedback on our ideas. As we continued to work with them, and went through more rounds of brainstorming and tweaks, we knew that we needed some serious graphic design work. We pulled in Friends of Black Hound: Katie Wranik and Ben Walther to pinch hit.

Katie and Ben were able to take all the art direction from KTI and translate into beautiful renderings. They also came up with the brilliant idea of making the animals LIFE-SIZED! Whew! Here's an example of one of their early designs:

Ben and Katie had all sorts of fun little challenges, like identifying hiking trails, facts about the animals, and locations of ALL the bridges in Grand County. Ha!

KTI gave lots more helpful and thoughtful feedback, and we eventually landed on the final design. Then, we hard work began: building the beast! Turns out that creating a massive 3D art mural is no joke. The map alone was 12'x12' and the overall mural is 33' x 17'! MASSIVE!

Then, of course, imagine the fun that went into transporting this beast, as well as installing.

But, we pulled it off and we're so stoked with the results. But what matters most is that the clients are thrilled, and now happy campers at River Run resort get to enjoy this amazing 3D mural.

Thank you for the opportunity, Kimberly Timmons Interiors!

Check out the slideshow below to see the final product.

About Black Hound Design Company

We love collaborating with agencies, interior design studios, architecture firms and general contractors to help bring their client's stories to life. With our creative fabrication capabilities, we can create just about anything. Furniture. Art. Metalwork. Fabrication. We're your guys.

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