custom art prop fabrication manhattan brooklyn cnc install

Large Scale Installation

This is an exemplary custom art fabrication piece commissioned by Richard Taittinger Gallery for Alexander Ponomarev's 2016 exhibition.  Estu Studios specializes large scale custom art fabrication.  From raw concept to execution we provide all services related to the process.  We make big things happen.

custom fabrication art installation

Concept to Completion

Ponomarev had one simple request.  He wanted a giant ship.  An ice-breaker ship with a realistic rusted and battered finish on it.  We had 10 days to design, build, and install this in the Manhattan gallery.

CAD // Drafting

His software guys in Russia sent us over a rough shape for the hull of the ship.  We broke it down and built it up again, dissecting it into a notch-assembly plywood rib structure.

custom art fabrication manhattan brooklyn cnc install


The CAD work for this object was pretty intense.  The ribs ended up fitting on 50 sheets of plywood.  The 50 sheets were dropped off by fork-lift then processed over the course of 3 days...nearly non-stop cutting and labeling for the complex assembly process.


Doing anything in Manhattan is harder.  Logistics and planning are everything.  A box truck full of components unloaded on the space and we went to town.

We received a large order of steel sheets at some point and custom cut and fit everyone in place, adapting to the curving contours of the ship.  Scenic painters were brought in to douse the thing in faux-rust paint and bash it with hammers to give it that 'weathered look'.  Faux rivets were added, along with window frames, port holes and other features.

Prop Building

There's a lot of cross over between custom art fabrication and movie industry prop house stuff.  The artist called for anchors and provided reference photos.  We drafted up a realistic anchor to be CNC cut from XPS foam.  By the time we drenched it in nasty old paint and faux-rust it you'd think it was real.

custom art prop fabrication manhattan brooklyn cnc install

Final Product

We couldn't smash a bottle of champagne on it because the steel facade was so thin, but we did sprinkle a few drops at the opening.

Miscelaneous shots from the fabrication process