November 28th, 2016 By Jack Morton
National Geographic was relaunching their show Explorer, and they wanted a new set design to suit their show’s new format. Rather than exploring physical places, the new Explorer delves into ideas in thought-provoking ways.
Jim Fenhagen and I were tasked with creating a modern, loft-style space. The show features a charismatic host, Richard Bacon, and he needed a multifunctional space from which to ‘explore.’
Above: The multifunctional set for Explorer
We started with the idea of a modern, open loft with windows out to a cityscape, creating a contemporary yet warm environment. The space is divided into three distinctive areas. One is a centralized home base, from which to start the show or conduct demonstrations or presentations. The area also features a huge rear projection screen. Lastly, an interview area allows the host to have in-depth discussions with guests.
Above: The home base area
Above: The interview area
In addition to the rear projection screen in the demo area, we included three, portrait-style LED screens in the home base area that can play together as one large screen or track apart. In the interview area, we provided a single monitor to show topical information during the post segment conversations.
The other major challenge was that the set would need to strike and store to allow for the three other shows to be taped in the studio (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and The NFL Today). The set needed to be built in a modular fashion and be able to load in and strike within eight-hour shifts. We were able to work with the CBS Scenic Shop to fabricate the elements to allow for ease of install.
National Geographic got a flexible, dynamic set to showcase their illuminating and in-depth stories.