Santa’s little helpers have a Fab Lab connection
ELF Productions has been designing, fabricating and installing for over 30 years. Michael Bianco, instructor at Northampton Community College’s Fowler Family Southside Center Fab Lab, owns the company that creates Christmas displays for malls across the country, and he uses the Lab to help with his creations.
This year, a big-name asked Bianco to do the fabrication for their store front Christmas display. The fashion designer, Chanel, heard about ELF Productions through a design and install company they hired to do their display. Having worked with ELF Productions in the past, American Christmas immediately thought of Bianco and his team to help fabricate the pieces.
Chanel came up with an idea, and Bianco used NCC’s Fab Lab to make it come to life. The design was 3D printed, and laser cut shapes were assembled and made into rubber molds. Bianco cast the finished pieces in resin. The pieces, the designer’s logos in a collage, were displayed at the front of the Chanel buildings in the Madison and SoHo stores in New York City.
Bianco said, “The Fab Lab is great with its numerous pieces of versatile equipment. I got started with the Lab by taking a Solid Works (3D drafting) class. I fell in love with the laser and started playing with it so much they asked me to be an instructor. I teach graphic design, resin and plastic molding and casting classes. I recently set up the plastic shop in the new space, like the one I have at my work.”
How did he get his start in the holiday business? It all began with a mall in Colorado. Bianco had an events company there, and a new mall asked him to do their grand opening. With a background in technical theatre, Bianco was able to do all the logistics for the event but also fabricate display pieces to really “wow” visitors. After the opening, a seed was planted. The mall asked him to do Christmas displays, and his company grew from there.
This year, Bianco and his team worked with about 20 malls all over the country. Freelancers work with him as he travels the country to complete these intricate installs. At any given time, over 100 people could be working with Bianco at home and on the road.
Bianco thought the name for his company was fitting for his holiday themed work, “It used to be MZB Productions, basically my initials. We re-branded because everyone called themselves Santa’s little helpers, and ELF came about."
It looks like Santa’s helpers really know how to spread holiday cheer on a grand scale!
For information about the Fab Lab, click here and start creating!