The North American International Auto Show is always an exciting time for Detroit and the entire auto industry. In the thick of winter we get the equivalent of a fashion show for cars. Sure some of them are ridiculous looking and provocative but they’re not meant to be worn outside the show. If you’re not car savvy (like me) you can stare in slack-jawed amazement at the newest concept cars. If you are car savvy you can totally…look at the engines and stuff. Regardless what you go to gawk at during the NAIAS, it will be hard to miss the custom graphics made by Fathead. Plastered all over the walls of COBO Center, in the midst of its $229 million dollar renovation, the Fathead designs are partly inspired by the NAIAS colors, Opportunity Detroit, and (let’s be real) a stylish way to dress up the auto show while COBO is still under construction. The end result is over 13,000 square feet of specially made Fathead graphics gracing the walls. In the Atrium (one of the many things being constructed in the past year) rendered images of the completed COBO Center can be seen with the word “Transformed” over it. Further in the building images of Downtown Detroit can be seen with the words “Built” and “Created” pushing the past tense of these words to imply Detroit is a work in progress just like COBO Hall.
It’s cool to see a Quicken Loans project and company provide such an eye-grabbing backdrop for an event as big as the auto show and there’s no way anyone will miss these decals, even with the cars being the focus. The largest Fathead creation is on the Atrium wall and is 21’ x 220’, but the main front wall of the Michelin Media Center is arguably the most striking image at 12’ x 218’ and was explained in a media alert sent out earlier this week:
“Excitement has been created with a continuous piece of Detroit imagery. This graphic includes the Detroit 3 automotive companies; Dodge (Chrysler) Charger, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet (GM) Corvette. Accompanying these vehicles are recognizable downtown Detroit buildings owned by Rock Ventures - including: Chrysler House, First National Building, the Qube (Chase Tower), One Woodward, the Kresge Building and the Cary Lofts Building. The theme, “Moving Forward,” is captured with an explosion of colorful arrows and vehicle direction graphics throughout this wall.”
This image has a huge market audience: car enthusiasts, members of the Quicken Loans family, those invested in the economic progress of Detroit, or those who like to look at pretty colors and images together. All jokes aside, this Fathead graphic is just one of many massive visuals that really enhance the NAIAS experience. In the Atrium Pop Up Room you can even see some wild concept sketches done by students from the College of Creative Studies accompanied with a welcome to the show itself.
Regardless of your motivations in going to the NAIAS, there will be sights abound for the car-illiterate visitors like myself and those born in…whatever cliché about car savvy people would say. Whether it is a new concept car, an interesting booth or the bold graphics by Fathead covering the walls you’re sure to catch an eyeful at this year’s auto show.