Transforming shipping containers into glitzy corporate function rooms, a high-tech television editing suite, trade show facilities or entertainment suites – that’s the work of Victorian company Event Studios Australia.
“It’s like a big meccano set,” said the company’s chief operating officer Nikki Calcraft.
“Depending on what you need, we can tip up the roof, flip out the sides, position the containers end to end or on top of each other and even add balconies, staircases and decks.
“All of the requirements can be packed inside the containers and, depending on the size, the whole structure can be up and running within hours,” Nikki said.
Key directions for the company in 2010 include quick-response disaster infrastructure, custom-made buildings to meet the needs of football clubs and building a growing range of buildings for the annual Rip Curl Pro Surf festival.
Event Studios’ customers also include the Network 7 broadcast facility for the Australian Open, the Australian International Airshow, and the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne.
The disaster-response work was triggered by Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires.
Event Studio’s CEO John Keeble said the company organised a disaster infrastructure plan after the bushfires.
“After Black Saturday it became clear to us that there wasn’t a central number to call to pull together infrastructure,” John said.
“For example, emergency service workers and people who have lost their houses need temporary housing, a command centre, kitchens, toilets and showers.”
Event Studios has pulled together the services of three other companies to provide a coordinated emergency response: Crawford Kitchens & Catering, Eternal Events and Splashdown, which supplies toilets and showers.
John said that the four companies had tested the system recently to see the response time.
“Within half an hour we could have had some of the infrastructure there, and by the end of the day we would have had the kitchen, the toilet, shower and the command centre in place.”
Another new direction for the company for 2010 is designing and supplying infrastructure for several Victorian football clubs.
Nikki said that Event Studios was supplying a “flexible solution” to the clubs, to meet a series of needs – selling merchandise, food and storing the player’s equipment.
“We’ve designed boxes, decorated with the club’s logo, that are easy to pack up and install at football matches,” Nikki said.
“We’ve made them very adjustable. So if the football club wants to have a sausage sizzle at family days, for instance, we can turn part of the structure into a food outlet.”
Event Studios has also been updating the facilities it provides for the Rip Curl Pro Surf carnival, held each year on Bells Beach in Victoria.
“There’s a 14 degree slope,” John said. “It doesn’t sound like much, but it makes it exceptionally hard to build anything.
“We’ve designed a way to install our buildings without scaffolding. We use an underground bracing system.”
John said the number of temporary structures Event Studios installs for the event had increased over the years. He said they now included a media room to house the large international contingent, space for a masseuse, a chiropractor and first aid, a merchandise outlet and storage for the competitors’ boards and equipment and a VIP Corporate area.
“The best view in the place is Rip Curl’s private box, where the guy who owns Rip Curl can sit in private and watch the event,” John said.
“We’ve also installed a full-glass fascia for our webcast area, which relays live webcasts for fans throughout the world.”
John said that essential to the company’s success was a focus on research and development.
“We set aside several months a year for research and development,” John said. Event Studios has claimed the Australian Government’s R&D Tax Concession for the past five years.
A company registered for the concession can claim back 125 per cent of its research and development expenses each year.
“The R&D Tax Concession has been absolutely invaluable for our business,” John said.
“Engineering is by far our biggest expense, so I’ve found we can funnel the money we get back into employing engineers and to offset the cost of materials.”
The company’s latest research priorities have been developing new staircase designs, and a new hexagonal-shaped front.
The stairs, designed to meet the building code specifications, mean that Event Studios can now add a viewing deck on top of one of its one or two-storey structures.
“To create a third-level viewing deck on our two-storey structures – one of the key aspects was producing an access system that is within the building code specifications,” John said.
“We’ve also designed a truss system. It means we can remove some of the structural poles, for larger more open-plan rooms.
“We always have to develop solutions to meet the diverse needs of our customers. We really concentrate on thinking outside the square to develop innovative ideas.”
For more information about Event Studios call 03 5622 0783.