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Trees – The Perennials of Retail Display

Large Display Tree Props – Retail Display or Theatrical Prop!

I was going to start by saying that trees & spring kind of go together; I have a small pear tree in my own back garden (such are the bucolic charms of Grangetown in Cardiff) &, at this time of year, I find myself increasingly checking on its progress for signs of buds; for any sign that the gloom of winter is beginning to recede.  Indeed; hopes hanging on the branches like, er, so much merchandise…
Of course the enduring symbol of Christmas, for the faithful or otherwise, is the evergreen, so immediately we can see that no one part of the calendar has any great claim to the tree as being its own.  Hence the tree’s ubiquity in shop display; it truly is the denim jeans of visual merchandising!
Icon & Co have been creating tree themed & large display tree props for both retail & theatrical clients (& all that exists in between those two poles) for much of the company’s 20+ year existence & there has been much variety in style.  Most recently, & proof that the popularity of this timeless & versatile mainstay of product presentation shows no sign of abating, we’ve had much interest in our ‘off-the-shelf’ display tree solutions, as well as in customised versions more closely fulfilling the diverse design intentions of our varied customers.
Below are a small selection of trees & ‘tree-based display solutions’ (now there’s a jaunty promotional phrase for the side of the van) that begin to show some of the variety of display prop, & which will hopefully serve as demonstration that this natural & organic form can still be exciting, unpredictable, & visually powerful:
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This very sculptural, stylised MDF tree was designed to conceal an in-store column.

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This custom made ‘super tree’ has had a couple of drum plinths added at the base to boost the overall height to a commanding 12 ft., as well as providing extra product display space.

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Spring / Summer display tree in white – detail view.

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MDF display trees as shop window props

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In-store column disguised with tree feature – the parts here created with our CNC cutting machine.

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A more traditional looking tree – a retail prop but not out of place on a theatre stage (minus the doll’s house)!

 

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Lego themed, Christmas window display featuring giant lego figures, sculpted by Icon & Co’s artists.

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MDF Christmas tree in three parts, with interlocking, self-assembly design & decorative cut-out detailing.

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This innovative design display tree is series of plywood facets mounted onto a steel framework, & features London themed ‘leaves’

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A Run on the Rubble : Fake Concrete Props

We’re approaching the end of November & despite the Christmas projects still very much providing the dominant theme in the workshop (seriously, there were some late ones this year), we have had a bit of a break from the glitter & the grottos.

This has come in the form of a number of separate requests for some movie dystopia-themed piles of faux rubble, of which photos below.

 

Forever the showman, I’ve presented some ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots:

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Fake Concrete Props?  Surely not!

 

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Fake concrete props, after our scenic artists have had a go.

 

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Some more fake concrete props!

These theatrical props are, of course, perfect for your standard armageddon movie or theatre production, for your marketing promo event, or simply for showing off to your friends by pretending to be Incredible Hulk-super strong and waving them above your head.

icon & Co, display artists, prop makers, props

Newport’s Tiny Rebel Brew Co. Put City on the Map

Newport Beer Best Served Gold.

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Newport based Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. win Supreme Champion Beer of Britain, 2015.

 

It’s not always just about us on these blog pages, so its with a healthy dose of regional pride that we today feel compelled to give a shout out to another Newport company who have shown an enviable & exponential rise in profile & fortunes of late – the Tiny Rebel Brewing Company.

 

It helps of course that they’re a brewery – it’s so much easier to get excited about a brewery & its products than, say, an insurance company (I’m sure that’s not just me) – but last week the Tiny Rebels won the highest prize in UK brewing industry – the brewing Oscars, if you like – by being named Supreme Gold Champions of Britain for their bitter, ‘Cwtch‘ (‘hug’ in Welsh, basically).

It really has nothing whatsoever to do with the hope that we might see free samples of their award winning craft brews come our way, & everything to do with saying ‘congratulations’, you’ve done Newport proud!

 

We’ll be having some of what you’re drinking!

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8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Icon & Co (Wales) Ltd…

8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Icon & Co (Wales) Ltd…

…but wish you did?

Well that may depend on where you’re coming from, but if you have a connection to the retail profession in any of its variety; from small independent shop-keeping to major high street brand, or if you’re involved in the leisure industry, from making & selling films & TV programmes to making & selling beer, if you’ve got a product or service to sell, are involved in creative marketing & PR, & generally in catching peoples’ attention, you might find Icon & Co quite useful to know.
Maybe you’re looking for an extra special item to enhance that interior space, be it a shop window or home living room, or if you’re thinking about weddings in any capacity; as an organiser, prospective guest searching for a wedding gift or indeed the subject of the big day, then there are a number of ways in which we might be of interest to you.
& you might be surprised by the breadth & scale of activities that the designers, artists, carpenters & project managers in this small corner of South Wales involve themselves with, & the ways in which we might be of service to you.  So to begin:

 

1. High Quality Finishing.

I’m probably going to start with the more obvious Icon facts, but this is a detail that’s worth flagging up once in a while: we can produce the most bespoke-as-you-like, carpentry-made display items to an exceptionally high standard & specification as far as the finishing is concerned – all in-house.  Case in point, the highly-polished sweet shop interior pictured below.  After the carpenters have done their thing with the display props & furniture that they’ve expertly constructed in our carpentry & joinery workshop, its the turn of Chris in the spray shop to apply his magic (ok, its more likely a combination of paint & lacquer, and sometimes glitter, & there’s not much of the Harry Potter in the way he presents himself).  The finish we can achieve on items we’ve built or brought in, timber, metals or plastics, are second to none.
The picture below shows one of seven floors in the Hamleys toy store on Regent’s Street, London, that was part of a major, multi-floor, interior re-furbishment that Icon & Co were principal partners in.  In the photo you can see showcased a good variety of materials, surfaces & finishes that found their way down the M4 from our Caerleon workshop:Sweet-shop-refit

2.  We have a CNC machine & are not afraid to use it.

CNC cutting routering machines, like their laser-cutting cousins, are great for any number of things &, like much in life, are limited only by your (our) imagination.  Both are great for cutting sheet material to produce your everyday, mundane components for any number of  products that surround us, but we at Icon have a penchant for turning the two-dimensional into three dimensions to great & often theatrical effect.  The display gondola / London bus prop below exploits the attractive & unique properties of sheet plywood, with its exposed edges, to achieve a very distinctive look, & our wonderful machine (its called Trevor, by the way) can cut sheet material – MDF, ply, foam board, composite sheet, etc – at a maximum size of 2m x 3m:
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3D bus toy shop display props, constructed from a series of 2d, cnc cut plywood panels. Used in-store as a product display unit.

3.  We have a proud history of working with one of the biggest TV shows in the world.

Dr Who, to get straight to the point (also cult offerings ‘Torchwood’ & ‘Being Human’, & the BBC staple offering, ‘Casualty’).  This is something we like to shout about from time to time (well, wouldn’t you?), but we’ve been very fortunate – partly due to the serendipity of being based in very much the same part of the world (Newport is a mere click of a sonic screwdriver away from Cardiff, & the timelord plies his trade across much of the South Wales region & beyond), & partly due to being so good at what we do!
Icon & Co are also kept busy by a vibrant, regional, TV & film industry with props & services supplied with regularity to S4C & BBC productions in both Wales & Bristol, & we have experience in serving a burgeoning, Welsh-based movie-making infrastructure, epitomised by the recent setting up of Pinewood Studios Wales in Cardiff.  Below is a scale version of the Tardis, made for an episode – ‘Flatline‘ –  where the time-travelling ship shrinks; our version being about half full-size:
theatrical prop makers, propmakers, film sets, shrunken tardis children's bedrooms, Dr Doctor Who, Flatline episode Series 8

Mini Tardis, constructed for DrWho series 8; ‘Flatline’

4.  We can make one material look like another material, & often do!

 

This, of course, is the stock-in-trade of the prop-maker / scenic artist; ours is indeed a world full of illusion & fakery!  Very often the alchemists of the art department will be tasked with having to make one type of wood (most likely the cheap & versatile composite that is MDF) look like another type of wood (often to simulate a timber considerably more aged & character-full), & a regular remit is to create fake concrete or faux natural stone from sculpted polystyrene & added painted effects, such as the hand-painted blocks pictured below. These are great looking, sculptural items in their own right as display or theatrical props – & can take any form you can imagine – but as a paint treatment can enliven your bog standard mannequin bases, podiums or shop display risers, to great effect.  Its a bonkers, topsy-turvy world at Icon & Co, & no mistake:
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Polystyrene, fake concrete display blocks.

5.  We are all shopkeepers now…

 

You’ve always been able to ring us up / drop us an email & order up bespoke props, pieces of display furniture or any of the awesome services we provide from our South Wales base, but it is now possible to buy a range of ‘off-the-shelf’ items (you could probably buy the shelf-off-us too, if you so wish).  This is a relatively new innovation for us & is a logical reaction to the more frequent display prop-requests we receive in our Wales office.  Our main ‘shopping portal’ is of course here on this website, where you can buy, at a considerable saving from their bespoke & original versions; MDF display trees; fake, polystyrene, balustrades; & the essential stock-in-trade of the display artist & visual merchandiser, the display plinth; all professionally constructed from MDF to a high, art gallery / museum-ready, quality (as standard!), & with a variety of painted or overlaid finishes.
On top of all that, we are now offering a range of items that are available to buy through both Ebay & Etsy, a move that makes many of our skills & expertise accessible to a more domestic market, a selection of examples of our work being pictured below:
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Sci-fi themed, hand-made, hand-painted games console unit & TV monitor stand.

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Part of a range of hand-made & uniquely painted storage & display units.

6.  Where bigger is better: We have a 5000 ft square capacity workshop facility.

 

This is not to be sniffed at, as it provides us ample space to incorporate all our carpentry & joinery capability, including the CNC cutter already mentioned, a professional paint spraying department (remember Chris?), & a printing & vinyl-cutting department which features a 1600mm wide, large format printer with a plotter to go.  This means we can print to a multitude of substrates as well as – using computer software – cut out what’s been printed, & also create vinyl decal lettering & signage.  We can design from scratch & make any of your existing artwork print-ready, all ‘in-house’.
Perhaps most importantly, as far as space is concerned in our line of work, is our ability to build full size film sets, or actual-size window display mock-ups, & build or sculpt giant props out of  polystyrene, timber, or any number of materials.  The photo below shows a full-size castle prop under construction, in what is just a fraction of our available floor-space:
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A full-size, fake castle prop being built in our South Wales workshop

  

7.  The boss is a Gypsy Punk rock star (& is available for hire)!

We’ve given up trying to make Mark, one half of the dynamic duo that run the Icon & Co enterprise, behave himself, & to be fair its been known for the services of his musical side project, ‘Rogora Khart‘, to be commissioned for a number of Icon staff wedding parties.  So this kind of connects back to the wedding thing I’ve mentioned already; a group of reputedly responsible adults dressed & made-up to look like eastern European vagabonds sure beats a dodgy DJ with a box of 90’s pop classics, no?
Rogora Khart; available for weddings, funerals, bar-mitzvahs, etc., etc…  You won’t regret it.

Icon & Co Rogora Khart

 

 

8.  2015 is our 20th anniversary!

 

Well happy Birthday us!  We should probably know what we’re doing by now…

 

Giant cake props, faux, welsh language, over size, huge birthday cake

Giant fake cake prop – not quite a birthday cake, but close enough!

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Sci-Fi Themed Games Console Units

Gaming Furniture Range Expands!

I hope you’ll forgive our continuing to showcase this new range of gaming furniture that we’re currently producing & selling ‘off-the-shelf’ but, apart from anything else, I can’t quite get over how photogenic they all are!

They are, as usual, available from our Etsy shop but you are positively encouraged to contact us here at Icon & Co directly if you’d like any further information or if you have an enquiry.

One of our newest items, pictured below, is a dystopia-themed games room shelf; designed to appeal to the teenage gamer or indeed the gaming enthusiast of any age, & is hand-painted MDF expertly finished by our props & scenic art team; the same guys responsible for many a Dr Who set or prop (& others!).

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Sci-fi themed, hand-made, hand-painted games console unit & TV monitor stand.

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Our ‘Post-apocalpse’ range: sci-fi themed, hand-painted games console unit & TV monitor stand.

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Hand-painted gaming // games room shelf

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Shop Open For Business ^ ^ ^

Props For Sale

Its been a while coming but we now have our website shop up & running, as well as a number of alternative outlets in ebay & Etsy.

For the first time, we have a range of popular display items that are available ‘off the shelf’ & ready to buy, as well as some furniture pieces that make the most of the varied talents on offer here at Icon.

We have display trees, with a Spring / Summer feel:

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with an Autumn / Winter look:

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& off course a Christmas range:

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We have a range of ever popular & highly functional display plinths:

Cubes, wooden boxes, black. white, museum art gallery quality, mitre joints

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&, being one of our more regular customer enquiries, we introduce a polystyrene display balustrade to our stock, both painted & unpainted:

Polystyrene sculpted, fake- stone balustrade display prop parapet theatre, Juliette balcony, railings

Some new items are aimed as much at the domestic market as the commercial, & our shabby chic shelving units are proving popular:

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Finally – & with new products being developed all the time – we have for sale a selection of sci-fi themed gaming furniture, aimed at gamers, playrooms, kids’ & teenagers’ bedrooms & beyond:

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Sci-fi Themed Games Unit – Furniture Range Now Available!

We expend a lot of time & effort here at Icon & Co producing eye-catching props & display furniture that get used for a shoot, a show or at best, a season, & is then consigned to a skip or storage (that’s enough alliteration – ed).

That’s ok with us, it’s just the fast-moving world we inhabit, but it did get us thinking about how nice it might be to create something with a bit more permanence, & to perhaps spread our creative abilities to a wider audience.  With that in mind, we’ve produced a series of furniture items that are as much for the home as for any commercial setting & are, crucially, built to last!

First up, & featured here, is a sci-fi-themed Games Console Storage Unit & TV Stand; designed, hand-made & hand-painted by our art department & bringing to bear all the experience & expertise normally reserved by our artists for the props & sets of Dr Who, amongst others.

This unit can currently be picked up from our Etsy shop, is part of a highly limited production run, & will soon be joined by a matching range of sci-fi inspired, video game oriented, shelving & storage.  Suitable for bedroom, living room, play-room, or whatever you call the space that either yourself or the gamer in your life feeds the gaming habit…

dr who, future retro, cnc, limited ltd edition, etsy shop,

Sci-fi themed, hand-made, hand-painted games console unit, TV stand.