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Whale of a Tale

The story of how two shops came together to turn an artist’s vision into reality.


all Photos: reggin industries, inc.

ravelers passing through Vancouver International Airport now have the chance to glimpse a unique public art structure. SEI, a steel sculpture by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, is meant to represent the sei whale leaping out of the water. Just how this structure was built and installed is a whale of a tale in itself. Custom metal fabricator Reggin Industries, Inc. ( of Calgary, Alberta became involved in this project through a referral, and they then brought custom cutter Empire Cutting Corporation ( on board. Both companies are used to unique jobs that push the boundaries of their equipment and creativity. “[This project] combined a lot of architectural structural engineering with this vision of an artist,” says Vincent Larsen, president of Empire Cutting. “That’s turned out to be one of our specialties— seeing what an artist is trying to do. “They don’t speak engineering or architectural or my equipment language, so one has to be able to interpret what they’re trying to do.” The artist provided hand sketches showing the general shape and size of what he wanted as well as a view of the final site. “We worked very closely with the artist in his conceptual stages; that way, he could understand the limitations of what was possible to do with sheet metal,” says Brett Kostka, senior designer, Reggin Industries. “We knew what he wanted it to look like, but we had to make sure that we were going to achieve that intent.” Reggin Industries used SOLIDWORKS software to design the sculpture (even though AutoCAD is the standard in construction projects). “With this project, it was critical that we could plan and build it in 3D, predict how we were going to assemble all these parts and where we were going to have

October 2015 // Sign Builder Illustrated


Sign Builder Illustrated October 2015  

This issue contains stories on vinyl decals, channel letters, routes, service equipment, EMCs, wayfinding, a steel sculpture, and a special...

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