How did we come up with the sci fi concept office?

It was all a matter of circumstance, like many things, being at the right place at the right time. Looking back on it, it feels almost silly, just entertaining the idea of that which has now become our Sci Fi Office. Remembering that, like any big or small project, the first step of designing anything is just to dream it. But the dream has to come from somewhere…


The Inception

Back in November 2020, Fireball was moving from a temporary machine shop to a permanent location. At this time, it was just Jason and I collaborating on video production and scaling up our storytelling all while he was running the company…and building the workshop.

One day he came to me and said “I have this crazy idea…” (this is a fairly common occurrence, not just with this project but ALL Fireball projects- go figure) and suggested we do something insane for the office space since now was the opportunity to make such a key decision. At this point in time, Jason had already finished building the mezzanine which meant the time to make the choice was now. But there were several directions we could take a proposed project of this magnitude.

So I (facetiously) asked him “have you seen that one really old movie series, Star Wars?”
It was this question that, unbeknownst to me, enrolled me as co-designer. Our appreciation of pulp science-fiction from the past half-century filled our minds with visions of futuristic and out-of-this-world architecture, paying homage to some of the greatest set designs from the films of that era. This became an undertaking that both him and I did not anticipate turning into the rabbit-hole that it would.

The References

It is now April 2021. We bounced the sci-fi office idea back and forth for awhile, as we were more focused on video production at this time, but this concept office was so strong (and I could see the potential for some amazing videos being made) that I kept pushing for it to become a reality. To help out, I took the reins and started assembling some reference images to continue these design conversations.

This allowed us to be dreamers, nothing was off the table, and we brainstormed like crazy. Gathering references is where it all starts. We began to characterize the shape language that we wanted to follow for this project while asking ourselves “what colors and textures are we aiming for?” We furthered our research in histories of science-fiction pop culture, but most importantly we defined the story that this office space, both interior and exterior, would tell. Of these early conversations, we entertained the idea of turning it into something like Vader’s castle, where it would be all black except with accents of red (and some fake flowing lava), but we found that would not look so great on camera as a backdrop with the lights on in the shop, plus it would be a bit too menacing for every day work (in my humble opinion).

The Concepts

These design conversations lasted months, with several mock-ups Jason made in CAD. Early on, we were particularly influenced by the Emperor’s Throne Room window on the Death Star, as well as the Endor Doors- we knew we wanted to have sliding “blast” doors, and we also knew we wanted a “window into space.”

July 2021. We began expanding the Fireball Video Production team and one of the team members (who you met in our Pro Welder Challenge video) became our lead animator and concept artist. He came up with some original art based on our references and preliminary design conversations (pictured below). A new thing was decided on: it had to have an upper level that would hang over the edge of the mezzanine.

There was a lot to love about these concepts, but we ultimately chose to head in the direction of the one on the far right (pictured above).

Some key differences were asked for the next round of conceptual design: extend the upper level to wrap around both sides, increase the area covered by glass, and incorporate some clever (yet impractical) lighting design.

The design on the far right (pictured above) became our favorite due to the flush windows and wrapped around lighting; it felt like a true base of operations, a place we could call our command center.

Jason modeled this design in Solidworks and formulated a plan-of-action to start building. This was only going to take us, like what, six months to do, right?

Up next: Exterior Frame Buildout (COMING SOON)

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It will never be complete until there is a death star trash compactor as well!

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“Really Old Movie” ? Really? Okay, fine; I’m old! LOL

I guess they’ve already got the scruffy nerf herder :rofl: